NZ eel fisheries up for review

11 Dec 2013
Numbers of New Zealand eel have stabilised in recent years

Numbers of New Zealand eel have stabilised in recent years

A comprehensive assessment is to be carried out on the current status of New Zealand’s eel population, after an independent review revealed their numbers are up after years of decline.

Recommended by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, the recent review found that although the country’s longfin eel numbers declined up to the late 2000s, their numbers seem to have stabilised in recent years.

“This is an important piece of work that will help to inform future eel research and monitoring,” said Dr Pamela Mace, principal advisor, Fisheries Science, Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

The review also revealed that, in the South Island, there are examples of recent increased in standardised catch rates of longfin eels in some areas.

Supplementary information will now be collected to further strengthen current monitoring.

The new comprehensive assessment will also integrate conventional fisheries information with non-fisheries information, such as the impact of habitat degradation, pollution and other non-fisheries causes of mortality (e.g. hydro dams).

MPI’s Eel Science Working Group will meet later this month to discuss the review panel’s recommendations for modifying existing research programmes or implementing new ones.

MPI and the Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy, say they will consider management actions in light of the panel’s report in early 2014.

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