Eels will be on the mind of two scientists from the Pacific Community's Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems Division, who set out today on a Japanese research vessel.
Dr Tim Pickering and Elodie Vourey are participating in a research expedition on the University of Tokyo oceanographic research vessel, Hakuho Maru, which departs Noumea for Papeete and Pago Pago today.
One of the objectives of the research is to find the spawning grounds of South Pacific freshwater eels and to obtain genetic samples of eel larvae to improve understanding of the genetic relationships and evolution of eels.
Knowledge of breeding and life cycles is fundamental to science-based fisheries management but to date, there has not been any systematic research done on South Pacific eels.
Dr Pickering said the South Pacific is the last frontier of freshwater eel research.