New Zealand’s iconic endemic longfin eel (tuna) is in trouble.
A group comprised of academics, teachers and researchers from Massey University, iwi, hapu and environmental groups have joined forces to address the plight of the tuna – the longfin eel. Recently, they have launched a website to educate people about the threats to our endangered longfin eel.
The commercial fishery, as managed by the Ministry of Fisheries over the past forty years, has put pressure on a population already reduced by habitat loss* and degradation of water quality.
Very few large longfins are now found, sex ratios are badly skewed and elver numbers are greatly reduced from former times.
Eels breed only once, at the very end of their long lives. They must evade capture for the many decades - from thirty to a hundred years - it takes to reach reproductive maturity, before undertaking their epic migratory journey to the tropical Pacific where they spawn and die.
If there are too few tuna making it to reproductive maturity then the species population will collapse.
\\Our recent petition called on the Minister of Fisheries to place a moratorium on commercial fishing of the endemic, endangered longfin eel (Anguilla dieffenbachii) until such a time as it can be conclusively shown that such harvest is sustainable in the long term.