A company that is putting New Zealand's endemic longfin eels in petfood products says it will seek advice on whether the species is threatened.
Tegel Foods makes upmarket petfood for Te Puke exporter Addiction Foods and is using eel in some products.
The longfin eel is classed as declining and at risk by the Conservation Department, putting it on the same level as the mutton bird and the sooty albatross.
But the Ministry for Primary Industries says the harvest is sustainable and the eel is not a threatened species.
Tegel's petfood division manager Phil Moulds says he will ask the authorities for more information and, if necessary, stop using longfin eels.
He says the company is environmentally responsible and does not want to endanger any species.
Mr Moulds says Tegel buys a mixture of longfin and shortfin eels, using the head, bones and tails left over when they've been processed for human consumption.