To: House of Representatives

Ban commercial fishing of whitebait

Ban commercial fishing of whitebait

We request that the House of Representatives enact a ban on the sale of New Zealand whitebait (Galaxias species) as they are threatened endemic species.

Why is this important?

It is inexcusable that we allow a native threatened species to be commercially harvested and sold locally and exported. While commercial harvesting of whitebait species is not the biggest threat to their decline (declines in habitat quality are) it is an extra pressure on the species that we can easily stop.

Furthermore, It is hypocritical to allow this to continue when we are signatories to the global ban on trade in endangered species (CITIES).

Whitebait are the juveniles of five different New Zealand native freshwater fish species in the Galaxiidae family, mostly found only in New Zealand. They are: īnanga, kōaro, banded kōkopu, giant kōkopu and shortjaw kōkopu. Four of these five species (all except banded kokopu) have been classified by the Department of Conservation (DOC) in 2013 as at risk or threatened with extinction ( ). That means they have the same threat ranking as some species of kiwi; selling whitebait is like selling kiwi. New Zealanders are often against other countries decimating or hunting their native wildlife, but we allow it right here in our own country.

White-baiting has a long history in New Zealand, and we want our children, grandchildren and further future generations to enjoy this past-time. Sadly, with the way things are going, these fish will be gone before most of our grandchildren will even be able to see them. Find out more about whitebait here -

Maggie, we hope that you can join us in helping to conserve these wonderful species. Stopping the commercial fishing and sale of whitebait would help in working towards conserving these species so people can continue to enjoy them for generations to come.

Reasons for signing

  • This is horrible and should not be allowed... So sign to make a difference!
  • To limit catches and stop numbers dwindling.
  • To try and stop a few select greedy fishermen taking all. I would really support a limit on the amount caught daily just like there is with sea fishing.


2017-03-01 11:03:34 +1300

Read our latest blog: We all need swimmable waterways:

While the heat has been on how much poo is in our waterways and how the National Government has redefined clean water, let's not forget about all the other things that degrade water quality.

Part of what makes a waterway healthy is the ability to support healthy ecosystems and life. Fish need healthy water. On top of all the things we are doing to their habitat, we are allowing them to be commercially exploited.

2016-12-15 13:48:46 +1300

A group of young school students gave presentations to the Christchurch City Council asking them to save our whitebait and protect our rivers. They gave solutions to the Council to help whitebait including protecting spawning habitat, initiating community days to clean up streams, and reducing fishing of whitebait.

You can watch parts of their presentation here:

It's awesome and inspiring to see these kids being great kaitiaki. I hope that those in power will listen to those that come after and start doing something to turn around the decline. Those in power may not have long left, but these kids, future generations, and millions of other species have to live with the poor decisions made.

2016-12-15 12:38:56 +1300

The whitebait season has finished for the year. For the West Coast the fishing season ended on the 14 November and for the rest of NZ on the 30 Nov. With the season closing, whitebait has been in the news a bit.

The Science Media Centre reported on views from freshwater experts:

Mike Joy was interviewed:

We at Freshwater for Life had a piece published:

And there was also an editorial and column in the Herald: and

It's great to see more people realising the absurdness of selling endangered animals. Please continue to share the petition.

2016-11-02 10:46:01 +1300

Tell our Conservation Minister than it’s not okay to sell threatened species.

Send Maggie Barry an email telling her we need a review of the whitebait fishery as it is unacceptable to continue commercially harvesting whitebait in the knowledge that these species are declining and will be extinct if we don’t act now.

Tell her that you’ve signed a petition to end the commercial harvest of these threatened species and you want her to act on this.

She has said that “it is not appropriate to eat threatened species, full stop”. Ask her if that includes whitebait?

Her email address

Remember to tell your friends and family to sign the petition so we can protect our native fish.

2016-10-21 12:45:23 +1300

We're in the Dominion Post today. Check it out:

Thanks to all those that have signed. Together we can tell the Government it's not okay to profit off threatened species and we can help these species recover.
Please tell your friends and family and share the petition around!

2015-11-12 16:02:58 +1300

1,000 signatures reached

2015-10-31 19:54:21 +1300

500 signatures reached

2015-10-28 21:12:02 +1300

100 signatures reached

2015-10-28 18:21:50 +1300

50 signatures reached

2015-10-28 17:07:19 +1300

25 signatures reached

2015-10-28 16:42:57 +1300

10 signatures reached