Council to dismantle whitebait stands

BRIDGET RAILTON
Last updated 05:00 08/05/2014

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Environment Southland is preparing to dismantle and remove 11 illegal whitebait stands along some Southland rivers.

The council is trying to flush out the owners of 11 stands along the Pourakino and Oreti rivers that do not have resource consent.

Environment Southland compliance manager Simon Mapp, in the regional services meeting yesterday, said inspection officers attached notices to the stands in March, asking the owners to contact the council but none had.

The council's next step is to remove the stands within the next few months. Mapp said he understood most owners would not have visited their stands during the past few months and might not have seen the notice.

Some of the stands might not be illegal, it could be that the identifying permit numbers had fallen off the stands and therefore owners simply needed to get in contact to confirm their status as a consent holder, he said.

"We just want to make 100 per cent sure before we remove them they are illegal."

Under the regional coastal management plan, a restriction on space for whitebait stands was placed on all Southland rivers with space allocated for stands restricted to to those that were law fully occupied at February 1997.

Under the plan, any new whitebait stand, other than the replacement of an existing one, is prohibited.

Mapp said some of the 11 stands looked historic, but others looked brand new.

Environment Southland chairwoman Ali Timms said those that have illegal stands needed to be given the opportunity to remove them themselves.

A rule within the plan enables the council to remove stands that no longer have resource consent.

After the meeting, Southland Recreational Whitebaiters Association president Ian McCracken said he was not aware of any illegal stands but complying whitebaiters would not be happy if that were the case.

"People pay good money for good stands and I would not think they would be very happy to see some people come up and target an area and do it illegally."

bridget.railton@stl.co.nz

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