30 Aug 2013

Changes to Sth Island eel quota seen as devastating

6:35 am on 30 August 2013

A West Coast commercial eeler says splitting the South Island eel quota into shortfin and longfin will be devastating to Maori.

The Government announced in June it would be talking to South Island iwi and eel-quota holders about splitting the quota to better manage both species.

It followed a report by Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment which found the longfin was at threat of extinction.

Trevor McCauley, who has been commercially eeling in the West Coast for the past 11 years, disagrees, saying he had his biggest catch last year, by about 40%.

The Ngati Porou man said splitting quota is unnecessary and will hit South Island Maori hard.

Mr McCauley said a moratorium would turn the international export market elsewhere which would cost the industry millions of dollars.