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Whitebait were scarce as the new fishing season made a slow start in South Canterbury.

JOHN BISSET/Stuff

Whitebait had been scarce as the brand new fishing season made a gradual begin in South Canterbury.

A number of hardy whitebaiters on the Orari and Opihi rivers solely “got a taste” of the delicacy as the brand new fishing season bought off to a gradual begin in South Canterbury on Sunday.

Whitebaiter, Lisa Marie Mitchell, stated there have been 12-13 camper vans and 50-odd individuals on opening day on the Orari River and simply a few whitebait had been caught.

“The water is still far too cold for them [whitebait] to come up right now. It was a slow start to the season,” Mitchell stated.

Richard Davidson of Davo’s Hunting and Fishing stated that the ocean was “dead calm” on Sunday, circumstances had been excellent and low tide was round 2pm however the catches would have solely provided a gap day style.

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Davidson stated that this was often the “status quo” initially of the season.

The new season additionally options new rules introduced in June that cowl set-netting, stands and places to fish with one stipulating a minimal fastened distance between fastened fishing gear (not stands) of 20 metres.

Mitchell stated most whitebaiters are proud of the brand new rules and solely the shorter seasons from subsequent 12 months can be a fear.

Department of Conservation operations supervisor for Geraldine/Raukapuka District, Duncan Toogood, stated, DOC Geraldine had run two data classes to present an outline of the brand new rules, and so they weren’t anticipating any issues as a results of the modifications to rules.

“DOC staff will be providing information to whitebaiters on the river during the season and there is also plenty of information on the DOC website,” Toogood stated.

Tevita Thomson of Timaru was one of the few to hit the water at dawn at Smithfield Beach in the hope of catching whitebait as the new season began.

JOHN BISSET/Stuff

Tevita Thomson of Timaru was one of many few to hit the water at daybreak at Smithfield Beach within the hope of catching whitebait as the brand new season started.

The 2021 season would be the final to run from August 15 to November 30 in a lot of the nation and September 1 to November 14 on the West Coast. In 2022 the season might be shortened nationwide to September 1 to October 30.

“The new regulations herald a more equitable fishery, easing the pressure on whitebait species while providing better alignment and consistency of fishing rules across the country,” Conservation Minister Kiri Allan stated in a media launch.

“Whitebait are taonga, mahinga kai for Māori and a valuable part of Aotearoa New Zealand’s indigenous biodiversity. Once plentiful, four of the six species we have are now threatened or at risk of extinction.

“No one wants to see whitebait disappear; they are part and parcel of our food heritage, with at least one annual festival celebrating the treasured delicacies.”

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