23 Sep 2013

Whitebaiting system complicated - trust

7:26 pm on 23 September 2013

The rules governing whitebaiting are complicated and sometimes hard to understand, the national body for Maori fishing interests says.

Whitebait fishing season started outside of the West Coast earlier this month, and will run until the end of November.

Maori Fisheries Trust, Te Ohu Kaimoana, does not have an active role in whitebaiting but says similar questions are raised at this time each year.

Chief executive Peter Douglas says whitebait and fishing permits are managed by different groups, such as the Department of Conservation, the Ministry for Primary Industries and regional councils.

Fishers must then adhere to health and safety regulations to sell whitebait, and pay tax to Inland Revenue.

Mr Douglas says the number of components to whitebaiting is complicated but does not believe there is an easy fix.