Plea to whitebaiters at start of season
Whitebait season starts today (Wednesday, August 15) and the Ministry for Primary Industries is reminding whitebaiters to check, clean and dry equipment between fishing in different waterways.
Whitebaiters are being asked to follow this process after every trip as it can stop the spread of unwanted freshwater pests that clog nets and choke waterways, including whitebait habitats.
“Unwanted freshwater pests such as didymo and lagarosiphon pose a serious threat to our rivers, streams and lakes. Once in a waterway they can disperse rapidly and destroy the environmental, recreational and aesthetic values of our waterways,” says John Sanson, national coordination team manager.
“Restricting your whitebaiting to one catchment only is the best way to stop the spread of unwanted pests. However, if you are going to be moving between waterways we ask you to check, clean, dry any equipment that has come into contact with river or lake water – particularly nets and waders.
“Some freshwater pests, like didymo, are often invisible to the naked eye and can be spread by a single drop of water. Treat every waterway as though it is infected – even if you can’t see the danger, you could be spreading it.”
Mr Sanson says before leaving a waterway, people should check items and leave any plant debris they find in their equipment at the waterway.
“All equipment should then be cleaned for at least one minute with a five per cent solution of biodegradable dishwashing solution. That’s about one tablespoon of detergent per 250ml.
“Water absorbent materials such as boots and waders require longer soaking times to allow thorough saturation.’’
Remember, drying will kill didymo, but even slightly moist items can harbour it and other microscopic pests for months.
To ensure didymo cells are dead by drying, the item must be completely dry to the touch, inside and out, then left to dry for at least another 48 hours before use.