New Zealand has nearly 40 native fish species. Whitebait are the juveniles of five fish species: giant kokopu, banded kokopu, shortjaw kokopu, inanga, and koaro.
Native fish are secretive and nocturnal. Half of our fish species spend some part of their lives at sea, which means they need easy passage to get to and from their freshwater habitats.
DOC surveys and monitors fish populations around New Zealand. We're also involved in planting and encouraging others to replant riparian vegetation along the edge of waterways to help our native fish.
Find out more about New Zealand's native fish, including stories and videos about DOC's work, and threats and how to help native fish.
There are seven species of bullies in New Zealand. They are found in a range of freshwater habitats.
Eels migrate up streams as elvers to find suitable adult habitat. After many years they return to the Pacific Ocean to breed and die.
These fish look like slender eels with a sucker like mouth instead of jaws. They spawn in small bush streams.
Learn about New Zealand's five species of mudfish. They are are small, native freshwater fish regarded as a taonga (treasured) species to iwi.
There are 12 species of galaxiid fish, which do not migrate as part of their life cycle. All but two are nationally threatened.
Whitebaiters call smelt ‘cucumber fish’. There are two species of these small shimmering silver fish.
The streamlined shape of this native fish must have influenced Concord designers.
Whitebait are the juveniles of five species of fish: giant kokopu, banded kokopu, shortjaw kokopu, inanga, and koaro. They are part of a group called galaxiids.
Watch videos, read blog posts by DOC staff, and check out the latest news articles about native fish and DOC's work with these species.
There are a number of ways you can be involved with freshwater fish conservation efforts, including protecting their habitat and ensuring migration routes are passable.
CITES endangered species
DOC's 24 hour emergency hotline:
0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468)
Call to report sick or injured wildlife, and whale or dolphin strandings.