Whitebaiters stay free of law's net

By Don Farmer don.farmer@age.co.nz

The whitebait season is over for another year and most people who chased the tiny delicacy stayed within the law, according to DoC rangers.

Ranger Joe Hansen said there had been only two reported serious breaches of the rules, one at Whareama and the other on the remote South Wairarapa coast at Pahaoa.

The Whareama incident had involved a whitebaiter blocking off more than half the river but the culprit had fled by the time rangers arrived. At Pahaoa, a whitebaiter was reportedly using multiple nets but, he too, escaped before rangers were able to arrive at the river spot.

Mr Hansen said those scooping and set netting at the most popular spots, especially on the shores of Lake Onoke, had behaved responsibly.

"At the Ferry they virtually police themselves anyway. They all keep an eye on each other."

Mr Hansen said reports suggested the best fishing appeared to be early in the season at Lake Onoke.

Changes to environmental rules forcing landowners to fence off waterways from stock would be sure to have a good effect on the fishery. "Spawning areas have been lost due to farming practices," Mr Hansen said.

- Wairarapa Times-Age

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