10 December 2014

Efforts to protect longfin eels must be followed through, says Environment Commissioner

Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Jan Wright, has today released an update report assessing the response to her 2013 report On a pathway to extinction? An investigation into the status and management of the longfin eel.

Dr Wright has welcomed progress towards protecting New Zealand’s native longfin eels, but says these efforts will need to be followed through.

“Greater efforts are being put into improving their protection”, said Dr Wright. “The Government’s response has been heartening, moving quickly to implement two of my three recommendations and committing to a review of catch limits.”

Her original investigation in 2013 found that the longfin eel population is currently in decline. The Commissioner recommended that commercial fishing be suspended until the population has recovered.

Although the Minister for Primary Industries has not suspended commercial fishing of longfin eels, catch limits are being reviewed next year.

“Longfin eels are very vulnerable because of their extraordinary lifecycle”, said Dr Wright. “A cautious approach is needed to ensure the population is sustainable.”

“I will be closely following the changes that the Government is making. The review of catch limits, in particular, will be a test of the fisheries management system.”

The Update Report can be found here. The 2013 report is available here.

ENDS 

For more information please contact:

Dan Ormond

027 251 9849