An article in The Spinoff on whitebait gets it wrong almost every time.
Whitebait season is here, and Forest and Bird is steaming mad about it. Why are we serving endangered fish in home kitchens and cafes alike?
They are not endangered. That is the 2nd most threatened category. They are declining, which is not even one of the three threatened categories.
Set the nets and get out your gummies – it’s whitebait season, and nothing tastes better than an endangered fish.
Again they are not endangered.
Whitebait stocks are at critical levels.
They are not critical either. That is the highest threat level (nationally critical). They are not in any of the threatened categories.
Of the kōaro, giant kōkopu, banded kōkopu, shortjaw kōkopu and the īnanga, four species are in danger of extinction.
They are not assessed as being in danger of extinction. The categories at risk of extinction are critical (immediate high risk), endangered (high risk short term) and vulnerable (medium term risk).
The four species are declining which is at risk, but not threatened. At best you can say they might be at risk in the future.
We’re “sleepwalking towards a collapse”, freshwater ecologist Mike Joy told NZGeo last year.
Whitebait is the only endangered species you see on the average menu, something Forest and Bird’s Cohen says is morally and practically wrong.
They are not endangered. That is a specific category which they are not in.
“We can’t expect to profit off of these fish in a sustainable way. Profiting from an endangered species is just not sustainable.”
Again they are not endangered. That is not my view. That is DOC’s official classification.
I’m not actually against greater protection for whitebait. It just annoys me when terms are used incorrectly that have a specific meaning in conservation circles.