11 Mar 2015

Who will follow tribe's eel fishing policy?

12:03 am on 11 March 2015

An iwi-owned company that has shelved its entitlement to fish for long-finned freshwater eel says other iwi may follow its lead.

longfinned freshwater eel

Long-finned freshwater eel Photo: 123rf

Te Kupenga o Maniapoto holds and manages the tribe's fish quota settlement and shares in Aotearoa Fisheries.

The company stopped fishing for longfinned freshwater eel last fishing season despite having an iwi entitlement to do so.

The fish is a taonga to Maori.

The decision was made after a request from local hapu and marae raised concerns around the decline of the tuna population.

Last year the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment recommended the commercial catch be suspended to prevent its extinction.

Te Kupenga chairperson Chris Koroheke said while it was a small move if more iwi do the same, collective action would have a greater affect.

Mr Koroheke said the wider issue was the restoration of the eel's habitat.