18 Mar 2013

Petition seeks temporary ban on longfin tuna fishing

6:15 pm on 18 March 2013

A petition calling for a temporary ban on the commercial fishing of longfin tuna, or eels, is about to be presented to Parliament.

Signatures have been gathered by a group of environmentalists, researchers, iwi and hapu called Manaaki Tuna, who argue the eels are at risk of extinction.

The petition, which will be delivered to Parliament at lunchtime on Tuesday, is supported by Kahungunu ki Wairarapa, whose environmental manager, Rawiri Smith, says there should be a rahui on fishing for all eels - not just longfin tuna.

Mr Smith says he wants a blanket ban on all eels, because the amateur eeler doesn't often distinguish between the longfin and shortfin.

He says there should be a freeze on fishing so new research can be done and stocks replenished.