Whitebait season opened everywhere in New Zealand last week except the West Coast, where people still have a week and a half to wait. But it seems many fishers may also be waiting until they have enough to fill a plate. Because, at the same time, the Department of Conservation expressed concern at not finding any adult galaxiids (whitebait) in streams with historical records of having them. Some of these species have now been listed as threatened.
Russel drew a link between the disappearing whitebait and this:
That’s some West Coast wetland, somewhere near the Grey River. I know I’m only an urban frog, but I’ve checked and those brown furry things standing in the river are not whitebait, and they also not good for water quality.
This evidence confirms what the Green Party has long been saying – that local authorities, farmers and the Government must start protecting waterways. Planting along streams and keeping cattle out of them is vital to the survival of the species that make up the whitebait catch.
The West Coast, famous for whitebait, has seen massive dairying conversions in the last few years. Too frequently, this has been to the detriment of the local environment, as some farmers choose to put profit ahead of all else.