Thousands upon thousands of glassy whitebait swimming in the sparkling sea, looking for a river to swim up is an appealing image. It’s a different picture though, when they find one. The little fishes make their way through the murk of our rivers, feeding on particles of whatever floats their way; effluent from cows and the faecal coliform bacteria that go with it, filtering the unpleasant fluids that wash off farms and roads and out of old riverside rubbish dumps, sawmills and tanneries, through their tiny gills. The whitebait have got it bad.

Customers buying pottles of whitebait at the dairy or in the pub might ask;

“Are these safe to eat?”


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