10 Jun 2013

Expert slams Govt over eel fishing

7:19 pm on 10 June 2013

An expert in environmental sciences says the Government is playing with fire by not putting an immediate stop to commercial long-fin eel fishing.

Ministers are waiting until November to decide whether to suspend commercial eeling, when an investigation will report on the population of the fish.

A document was released in April by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.

It recommended establishing an independent, internationally peer-reviewed panel to reassess data on the longfin eel.

Environmental Science lecturer at Massey University Dr Mike Joy says it is dangerous not to stop commercial eeling now - particularly with a species which goes out only once in its life to spawn in the Pacific Ocean.

He says the Government is playing with fire because it is unknown how many longfin eels there are.

Dr Joy says government should be telling commercial fishers to stop now until the status of the eel population is known.