Hundreds of people have made submissions on legislation intended to give more protection to native freshwater fish.
The Government said the Indigenous Freshwater Fish Amendment Bill would allow the responsible minister to address threats such as damage to spawning sites and drainage works or pump stations.
Many submissions came from the whitebaiting community on the West Coast and said there needed to be more consultation before the bill was passed.
Opponents said one clause in the amendment bill would give the director general the ability to close the whitebait season indefinitely without consultation.
They also said returning rivers to their natural state, taking away culverts, and not draining swamps, would help the whitebait population flourish.
There was also a suggestion local government should be able to make regulations that covered their area, rather than having one rule for all areas.
One submission said the writer had not seen a decline in the number of fish they caught, despite fishing in the area for years.
The North Shore Flyfishers group in Auckland said it was greatly concerned by a clause that allowed the removal of trout from rivers and lakes.
Trout had been in the country’s waterways 150 years, and all freshwater species co-existed during that time, the group said.