Illegal whitebait structures

by Mike Isle

Concrete plinths, wooden platforms and a pallet jetty are among the dozens of illegal structures erected in Canterbury’s rivers this whitebaiting season.

An increase in complaints from members of the public has led Environment Canterbury to visit waterways this week to speak with whitebaiters and assess the scale of the issue. Environment Canterbury’s Zone Delivery Manager Paul Hulse said that new structures are being constructed all the time.

“There are some quite significant structures in our waterways, installed in an attempt to reach whitebaiting nets further into the river. Some of them are nearly as substantial as a jetty or deck, while others are simply pellet rafts dug into the riverbank,” he said.

“These structures are illegal because they have a serious environmental impact. Aside from breaching Department of Conservation rules prohibiting fishing from a fixed structure, and being a public safety risk, they change the hydraulics of the river and cause bank destabilisation, flood risk and sediment issues.” Paul Hulse said members of the public have an important role to play in protecting our natural resources.

“We encourage anyone noticing these structures to call our 24-hour Environmental Incident Response Line on 0800 Pollute,” he said.