Yearly records of whitebait catches have not been collected for most of New Zealand. What records there are, from the West Coast, were collected from 1931 to 1973. They reveal that yearly catches fluctuate greatly. The pattern of large catches in some years and small catches in others occurs throughout New Zealand. The cause of these variations has not been explained. The long-term trend on the West Coast shows no decline in total catch. While no data exists, it seems evident from anecdotal accounts that the overall catch in parts of New Zealand other than the West Coast has declined.
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Source: Robert M. McDowall, The New Zealand whitebait book. Wellington: Reed, 1984, p. 190
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