10 Feb 2016

Bringing whitebait back to Christchurch rivers

From Nine To Noon, 11:28 am on 10 February 2016

Scientists are using hay bales to try and get whitebait, or inanga, to spawn in Christchurch rivers.

Before the Canterbury earthquakes the region's rivers were the perfect spawning spot for whitebait, but the February 2011 quake shifted river banks and disrupted river flows and habitats.

Five of the country's six whitebait species are in decline, and the Whaka Inaka project aims to try and bring them back to city's rivers.

Temporary spawning points for inaka, the most common type of whitebait in the city, have been set up using 200 straw bales along 3km stretches of the Heathcote River and Avon rivers.

Canterbury University's Mike Hickford, who is one of the scientists involved in the project, talks to Kathryn Ryan about the project: