8 Mar 2016

Calll for legal protection for eel and whitebait

8:43 pm on 8 March 2016

A group of scientists has set out a plan for improving freshwater ecosystems in New Zealand that includes changing fisheries law to better protect eels and whitebait.

In a paper published in the Pacific Conservation Biology journal the scientists - who include water quality advocate Mike Joy of Massey University - say 74 percent of native freshwater fish are endangered or at risk.

Dr Joy said four threatened whitebait species and longfin eel were harvested commercially without the data to ensure sustainable management, and should be included in fisheries regulations.

Other recommendations included adding river habitat to to the national policy for freshwater and developing a policy to protect wetlands, estuaries and groundwater ecosystems.