The Department of Conservation is warning whitebaiters to keep to the regulations and not take more than their fair share, amid evidence of a declining population of the fish.
The whitebaiting season opened across the North Island and on the east coast of the South Island on Saturday and will begin on the West Coast on 1 September.
DOC freshwater fish expert Jane Goodman says the future of whitebaiting depends on sustainable native fish populations, and recent evidence that the adult population is falling is of great concern.
The department is asking whitebaiters to be aware of the regulations, such as setting no more than one net at a time, staying within 10 metres of the net at all times and not leaving it unattended.
Ms Goodman says whitebaiters are also reminded to check, clean and dry their gear to help prevent the spread of didymo algae and other aquatic pests.
The season runs until the end of November for all regions apart from the West Coast, where it ends on 14 November.