Eel nz

Eel nz There are most important varieties of eel – the shortfin and the longfin. There are fewer eels these days due to the lack of wetlands and historic business fishing practice.

Currently the economic eel fishery is controlled via way of means of the Ministry for Primary Industries beneathneath the Quota Management System.

Eels migrate up streams as elvers to discover appropriate person habitat. After a few years (15-30 years for shortfins, 25 years for longfins, and now and again as much as eighty years) they migrate to the Pacific Ocean to reproduce and die.

Eels are secretive, especially nocturnal and like habitats with masses of cover.

Tuna – ā tātou taonga

Tuna (the Māori phrase for eels) aren’t handiest traditionally crucial to Māori, they’re our taonga these days. But strain on a few species is ensuing of their decline.

Identifying eels

At first glance, all New Zealand freshwater eels appearance the same. But every species is precise in its very own manner. Learn approximately the variations among the species and the way to inform them apart.

Longfin eel

Longfin eels may be located for the duration of New Zealand. They stay especially in rivers and inland lakes however may be located in nearly all varieties of waters, typically properly inland from the coast.

They are mythical climbers and feature made their manner properly inland in maximum river systems, even people with herbal barriers. Elvers (younger eels) swimming up river will climb waterfalls or even dams via way of means of leaving the water and wriggling over damp areas. It isn’t always extraordinary for an eel to climb a waterfall of up to twenty metres.

Size Eel nz

When eels start life, they’re a tiny one millimetre in length. During their life, they are able to develop up to 2 metres lengthy.

Compared with many different fish, eels are sluggish growing – a longfin may also develop handiest among 15-25mm a year. They also can stay for plenty years. Large longfins were anticipated to be at the least 60 years vintage.

The largest eels are typically vintage women which have been sluggish to attain sexual adulthood and, for motives that aren’t but understood, have now no longer migrated to sea to reproduce.

The largest longfin eels stated have weighed as a good deal as forty kg. Pictures of fishers and large eels used to seem often in nearby newspapers. But these days, you`ll seldom discover an eel heavier than 10 kg.


In form, eels are elongate, slim-bodied fishes, nearly tubular. When they’re small, they have got fairly clean heads however as they develop the pinnacle will become bulbous, with a outstanding muscular dome at the back of the eyes.

They alternate form once more after they get prepared emigrate to their breeding grounds. The head will become a good deal extra slim and tapered, nearly bullet-like and the eyes extend to as much as two times their ordinary length.

Food Eel nz

Eels devour “stay” meals. Small longfin eels residing among the river gravels will feed on insect larvae, worms and water snails. When they get bigger, they start to feed on fish. They may even devour clean-water crayfish or even small birds like ducklings.

During the day, eels are secretive, hiding beneathneath logs and boulders or beneathneath riverbanks. Occasionally, they will be visible out looking for meals however maximum in their searching takes area at night.

Eels hunt via way of means of scent instead of sight. Longfin eels have a properly-evolved feel of scent. They have tube nostrils that protrude from the the front in their head, above their top lip.

They additionally have a completely massive mouth with rows of small, sharp, white tooth. The pinnacle tooth shape an arrow form at the roof of the eel`s mouth.


Longfin eels breed handiest once, on the quit in their life. When they’re prepared to reproduce they go away New Zealand and swim all of the manner to the sub-tropical Pacific Ocean to spawn, possibly in very deep ocean trenches.

When they attain their destination, the women lay tens of thousands and thousands of eggs which might be fertilised via way of means of the male. The larvae are referred to as leptocephalus and appearance not anything like an eel – they’re obvious, flat, and leaf-shaped. The larvae attain New Zealand via way of means of drifting on ocean currents.

Before getting into clean water, the leptocephalus alternate right into a extra acquainted eel form, even though they stay obvious for as much as every week after leaving the sea. These tiny “glass” eels input clean water among July and November every year, regularly in very massive numbers.

Eels take a few years to develop and it may be many years earlier than an man or woman is prepared to adopt the lengthy migration again to the tropics to reproduce. The common age at which a longfin eel migrates is 23 years for a male and 34 for a female. The adults by no means go back as they die after spawning.


While longfin eels are nevertheless fairly common, fishing has had a good sized effect at the species. Europeans confirmed little hobby in eels as a fishery till the Sixties while business catches rose steadily.

Habitat loss additionally influences eels. Changes resulting from hydro development, drainage and irrigation schemes and river diversions have an effect on eel2 eels via way of means of decreasing their habitat and the water available Eel nz

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