Forest & Bird is calling on the government to take urgent action to protect native fish as the whitebait season comes to an end for the year.
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An experimental release of the rare and giant kōkopu whitebait at Tāwharanui Regional Park aims to establish two self-sustaining kōkopu populations to support the national conservation of the vulnerable species.
The whitebait season opens at 5am tomorrow and lovers of whitebait will be paying a premium price if they're not catching it themselves.
Whitebaiters gearing up for opening day on Monday are being warned by DOC to get familiar with the rules or pay the price. DOC says whitebait numbers are dwindling with some species having the same threat status as kiwi and kārearea so rangers will be patrolling sites throughout the season to ensure people are complying with the regulations.