Whitebaiters fishing hours change

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Whitebaiters are reminded to stick to the proper hours after daylight saving started last weekend. PHOTO/FILE
Whitebaiters are reminded to stick to the proper hours after daylight saving started last weekend. PHOTO/FILE

The Department of Conservation is reminding Hawke's Bay whitebaiters that fishing hours from now until November 30 are between 6am-9pm.

The annual mid-season change in fishing hours occurs during Daylight Savings, which began on Sunday, September 25.

Regulations pertaining to fishing hours, season dates and net use have been set nationwide in order to maintain whitebait populations.

"We want to make sure an adequate number of whitebait are able to travel safely upstream and mature," said Hawke's Bay compliance ranger Rod Hansen. "That way the adults will be able to return to the Bay to spawn and provide next year's whitebait stock."

DoC has been conducting routine whitebait checks since August. Several nets have been seized along the Porangahau River this season, and DoC is also closely monitoring the Tukituki River for illegal fishing practices.

Mr Hansen said that it was "encouraging" to see whitebaiters following regulations during a check along the Porangahau River last Saturday.

"It's great to see people staying near their nets or removing them from the water when they're away from the river," said Mr Hansen. "We want people to be able to enjoy whitebaiting now and in the future."

Offending whitebaiters may be fined up to $5000 and can lose their equipment, Mr Hansen added.

"It's really unfortunate when we come across fishing offences, but we're enforcing these regulations to protect whitebait and the whitebaiting tradition."

Whitebaiters can find more information on current regulations by picking up a regulations pamphlet at local sporting shops or by visiting http://www.doc.govt.nz/whitebaiting.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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