There isn’t a catch limit on the lucrative whitebait fishery, which threatens to extinguish a cherished tradition and a small family of fish in one sweep of the net. If nothing changes, two whitebait species will be gone within five years, and the rest by 2034.
Twice the kākāriki karaka has returned from the dead. Orange-fronted parakeets were declared extinct in 1919 and again in 1965, but each time, the birds were concealed deep in the beech-forested valleys of Nelson and Canterbury. Now, the bird is approaching its third extinction, and this time, rangers have already scoured the valleys for hidden strongholds. This time, there isn’t a secret population waiting in the wings.