3 Oct 2012

Stop whitebait sales for cultural reasons - trust

8:47 am on 3 October 2012

Whitebait have a cultural value and their commercial sale should be stopped or controlled, says Te Wai Maori trust, which has a responsibility to advance Maori interests in freshwater fisheries.

The whitebait season outside the West Coast opened in mid August and runs until the end of November.

Trust director Morrie Love says although whitebait isn't as important to iwi as eel, the fish do have some cultural value.

He says whitebait isn't part of the quota management system, but is sold commercially and that needs to be re-thought.

Mr Love says not all whitebait species can regenerate quickly, and the fishing effort and the habitats of whitebait need to be considered to ensure the future health of the species.