What to ban next: Whitebait fishing

Do you love a whitebait fritter? A real delicacy that you look forward to when you travel on the West Coast of the South Island? Something you find as an entree in a really good restaurant? Well, make the most of it while you can. Because, Forest and Bird, and by extension the Green Party, have got whitebait in its sights.

And are you really surprised? RNZ reports: quote:

Four of the five native whitebait species are in danger of extinction and the organisation wants commercial whitebaiting banned until they have time to recover.

Forest & Bird freshwater advocate Annabeth Cohen said New Zealanders should be asking whether it’s okay to have endangered species on restaurant menus.

“The idea that it tastes good is not an excuse that we would accept for the kiwi so I don’t think we should accept that for our fish.”

She said catch limits should also be imposed for recreational whitebaiting. end quote.

Yep. So, my initial reaction at least was that my cuzzies down on the West Coast who have whitebait pozzies handed down through generations will still be okay. But they won’t. All whitebaiting will be brought to an end before too long. quote:

“We understand that it’s an important cultural pastime so we’re not discouraging people from catching a feed with their family but most people are actually surprised when we tell them there’s no limit on the recreational catch despite the fact that these fish are struggling.” end quote.

Yes, you are. Because if you are bringing an end to recreational fishing, then it is only a matter of a very short time before ‘catching a feed with their family’ will be a thing of the past.

Here is the thing. This is what my cuzzies tell me. The amount of fish varies enormously from year to year.

The winter of 2015 was a particularly cold one. The whitebait numbers, once the season started, were very poor that year. Could that be something to do with the weather? Well, the long-standing whitebait fishers seem to think so.

There are already regulations, which are strictly observed. The season runs between 15 August and 30 November for all regions except the West Coast, where the season starts on 1 September and ends on 14 November. Also, there are strict rules as to what nets can be used, and how they are to be handled. If you are interested, this information can be found here.

The regulations have been in place for decades, as there have been concerns about declining catches since the 1890s. Yes, you read that right. That is why the season dates were set, that is why personal limits were established, and in nearly 130 years, it seems that those regulations have been enough to allow the various species to survive.

But now we have a government where the Greens have, for the first time, some power. Now, suddenly, we have all sorts of demands to ban and protect things that seem to have managed quite well, until now.

First, they came for our plastic bags…

Then they came for our straws and cotton buds…

Then they came for our food…

What would Winston Smith the character from the novel, 1984  think of this? Would he think about it in his 2 Minute Hate one day, do you think?

Two minutes of hate.

What would Eve think?

Digital image credit: Pixy
Liberal flower child

 


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Accountant. Boring. Loves tax. Needs to get out more. Loves the environment, but hates the Greens. Has been called a dinosaur. Wears it with pride.

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