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New measures proposed to protect longfin eels

Hon Nathan Guy

Minister for Primary Industries

7 August 2014 Media Statement

New measures proposed to protect longfin eels

A proposed package of measures to improve the status of New Zealand’s iconic longfin eel population has been announced today by Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy.

“The longfin eel is the largest freshwater eel in the world and is only found in New Zealand. This package of measures will help ensure its survival for future generations.”

The proposed measures include:

• A review of longfin eel catch limits

• Consideration of separate longfin and shortfin stocks in the South Island

• The introduction of abundance target levels; and

• Improved information from the commercial sector.

These measures follow a review by an independent panel of international scientific experts.

“The independent panel reviewed all of the information on the fishery and concluded that while there was a trend of decline from the early 1990s to the late 2000s, there has been a relatively stable, and in some cases increasing abundance in recent years.

“This can largely be attributed to reduced catches associated with the introduction of eels into the Quota Management System in 2000 for South Island stocks and 2004 for North Island stocks.

“Based on this information, advice from MPI and feedback from iwi and industry, I’m confident this package will support the rebuild and long-term sustainability of the longfin eel population.”

The independent review was a recommendation of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment in her April 2013 report on the status and management of longfin eels.

“At this stage the scientific information does not support a closure of the fishery. The controls available in the Quota Management System allow me to manage the fishery to ensure it rebuilds, while allowing people to sustainably use the resource. There are a range of factors affecting eel productivity and abundance which are not solely related to commercial fishing.

“Input into this process from iwi, stakeholders, and the public is vitally important. Discussions will begin later this year with formal consultation to start early next year.”

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