Fisheries New Zealand has started public consultation today on catch limits for North Island freshwater eels. This includes the shortfin eel and the longfin eel in all Quota Management Areas across the North Island.
Fisheries New Zealand inshore fisheries manager Steve Halley says the review is based on a new scientific assessment by NIWA in 2017 for North Island eels.
"The scientific assessment has been reviewed through Fisheries New Zealand’s science review process by independent experts, and we are now using that information to look at how we manage this fishery going forward," says Mr Halley.
"We encourage people to share their views and have their say about our proposed changes.
"The latest scientific information is showing shortfin eel stocks in the North Island are at sustainable levels, so we are proposing no changes to the catch limits.
"There are 2 options for longfin eels. The first would keep the catch limits for each stock at its current level.
"The second reduces catch limits across all North Island stocks. This takes into account the biological vulnerability of longfin eels, and that some longfin eel stocks, while stable, may not be showing a clear increase in abundance. It also responds to concerns raised during discussions with iwi, stakeholders, and public feedback about longfin eels.
"Following public consultation, we will provide the Minister of Fisheries with final advice, so that any catch limit changes can be notified prior to the start of the new fishing year for eels, which is 1 October 2018," Mr Halley says.
The consultation closes on 27 July 2018.