13 Jun 2013

Commercial longfin eeling risks Maori customary treasure

9:56 pm on 13 June 2013

An environmental scientist warns tangata whenua are going to loose longfin eels - a customary treasure - because of commercial fishing.

The government is expecting a report on the population of the fish in November that will help the state make a decision on whether to suspend commercial fishing of the species.

An Environmental Sciences lecturer at Massey University, Dr Mike Joy, says harvesting should stop immediately.

He asks why the Maori customary share need be reduced so a select number of commercial fishers are able to export the eels, which is a taonga or treasure to them.

Dr Joy is disappointed New Zealanders will not have access to eels because the government is willing to allow the species to be exported.