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PCE’s Report Vindicates Campaign to Save Native Eels

Press Release – Forest And Bird

Forest & Bird has welcomed today’s report by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE), Dr Jan Wright, that concludes that a moratorium on the commercial harvesting of the native longfin eel is needed, if the species is to be saved from …PCE’s Report Vindicates Campaign to Save Native Eels

Forest & Bird has welcomed today’s report by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE), Dr Jan Wright, that concludes that a moratorium on the commercial harvesting of the native longfin eel is needed, if the species is to be saved from extinction.

The report follows the presentation to Parliament last month of a 5000-plus-ignature petition, collected by a coalition that included Forest & Bird, calling for a moratorium.

“New Zealand has already lost too many native species to extinction, and we must not lose another,” says Forest & Bird’s Advocacy Manager, Kevin Hackwell.

“Longfin eels are found only in New Zealand, and live to at least 40 years, before – incredibly – they swim all the way to Tonga to spawn. They are of particular significance to Maori, both as a cultural icon, and for their value as a source of kai. “It is very wasteful for these magnificent creatures to have been fished right to the point of collapse, in part to make pet food,” Kevin Hackwell says.

Dr Wright’s report criticises the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) for the way in which it monitors the health of the longfin eel population. 

Kevin Hackwell says: “MPI’s monitoring system has failed to account for the serious lack of new eels hatching, while the pre-breeding population has been mined by commercial fishers. MPI is saying that everything’s just fine. But as the population falls, all of a sudden, things won’t be fine at all,” Kevin Hackwell says.

The PCE’s report recommends that the Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy, asks MPI to convene an expert panel to advise on managing the longfin eel population.

“The PCE’s report is a well-considered scientific document that serves as yet another major red flag to the Minister, who needs to act urgently, before it is too late,” Kevin Hackwell says.

“The longfin eel will not survive without an immediate moratorium. The species’ fate is in the Minister’s hands,” he says.

ENDS

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