Operation to protect eel fishery

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Telephone: 029 894 0328

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) recently ran an operation inspecting whitebaiters and eel fishers along the west coast of the lower North Island.

Ten MPI fishery officers were involved in dusk-till-dawn patrols from Waikanae to Tangimoana, with a strong focus on educating fishers on the regulations for glass eels.

MPI fisheries compliance manager Mike Green says it was good to see the majority of fishers knew the rules and were already throwing glass eels back.

"New Zealand longfin eel sustainability is a growing concern so a significant part of this operation was to get out there and educate fishers to help ensure the long term sustainability of this fishery," says Mr Green.

"Our fishery officers talked to fishers about identification and differentiation of glass eels and whitebait species, and which catch methods and gear were legal to use.

"Out of the 157 inspections the team issued 2 infringements, 2 warnings, one file will be passed onto the Department of Conservation (DOC) and 2 lots of fishing gear were seized. 

"Whitebait compliance is normally the responsibility of DOC, so this type of patrol was unusual for our fishery officers, but it is important that we raise awareness of eels among whitebaiters".

The recreational regulations for glass eels are exactly the same for adult short and longfin eels. Six eel per gatherer per day and any eel caught in a net, must have net mesh that is larger than 12mm in size.

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