Junior whitebait saviours heralded in Kaikōura

Kaikōura's youngest whitebait warriors embarked on a rescue mission last week, when they came across tuna (eels) and inanga (whitebait) stranded at Harnetts Creek.

Kaikōura Whitebait Warriors rescuing Tuna and Inanga

Abe Pattison and Tom Adams were at the waterway when they noticed fish struggling in the rapidly drying pools - some were already dead.

Abe said the pair wanted to help the fish. “We wanted to stop them from dying and also help them breed.”

Tom had relocated fish in a similar situation last year with the help of his father, Hayden Adams and knew what to do. The pair used buckets to relocate the live inanga and tuna.

Tom said he felt pleased with what they had done. 

“We felt quite happy and proud that we moved them to a better home,” he said. 

“It might mean there’s more to catch next year.”

Old practices live on in new generation

Tom's mother Maria said she would sometimes undertake similar missions when she was younger.

“We’d do what Tom does when we were kids, finding fish then moving them downstream into bigger pools.”

The creek has changed however, she said, especially in the summer months.

“It does seem to be consistently drier and floods less. It doesn’t get that good washout like it used to. The gravels under the bridge are building up.”

Environment Canterbury land management and biodiversity advisor Heath Melville said he was impressed with what the boys had done.

“It was extremely refreshing to work with these young lads, enthusiastically searching for native fish species that were otherwise doomed.

"They were enjoying themselves but they were doing it for the right reasons. They wanted to do their bit to look after local inanga and eel populations for the future,” he said.

 - Courtesy of Alice French and the Kaikōura Star