Govt to meet South Island iwi to protect endangered eel

By Kate Shuttleworth

The endangered longfin eel. Photo / Supplied
The endangered longfin eel. Photo / Supplied

The Government will meet South Island iwi to recommend splitting the quota between longfin and shortfin eel in an effort to protect the endangered longfin eel.

The move comes in response to a report from the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Dr Jan Wright on the longfin eel.

Dr Wright's investigations into longfin eels found they were in trouble, facing extinction due to vulnerabilities in this lifecycle, when they breed at a late age and leave freshwater for the ocean.

Longfin eel are the largest freshwater eel in the world and are found only in New Zealand.

She has recommended an end to commercial fishing.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Conservation Minister Nick Smith said the Government would introduce interim measures in response to the report.

The Ministry for Primary Industries would begin talks with South Island iwi over the eel quota, to better manage both species.

Mr Guy said the Government had decided to establish an independent, international peer review panel to reassess the data on longfin eels in order to get the best scientific advice.

He said a decision on whether to suspend commercial fishing of the species would be made once a final assessment from the independent panel in November this year.


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