28 Aug 2012

Long-fin eel export dogfood claim circulated offshore

1:07 pm on 28 August 2012

A claim by a group seeking a ban on commercial fishing of long-fin eel that New Zealand is exporting the species as dogfood, has been sent to 4000 publications offshore.

Massey scientist Mike Joy says an American bio-diversity group has now forwarded a fact sheet by Manaaki Tuna about the long fin to 4000 publications on its data base.

Dr Joy says the Government has ignored pleas to take the species out of the quota system and the only option left is to try to shame it into action.

He says the long-fin has a higher conservation status than the great spotted kiwi - yet it turns up in the United States in specialist dog-food.

Dr Joy says Manaaki Tuna hopes that international publicity will convince the Government to protect the eel.

The Ministry of Fisheries says the long-fin is fished sustainably under the quota system, and is not classified as 'threatened'.

But Dr Joy said the Department of Conservation changed the status of the fish from 'threatened' to 'at risk and declining' last year, after pressure from the ministry.

He said the change in wording has done nothing to reduce the long-fin's risk of extinction.