Longfin Eels campaign on facebook
It’s not the commercial hunting that is the major factor in decline, that is being managed reasonably well.
The major factor is the loss of wetlands.
We just did an inventory of wetlands in the Kaikoura region (I chair the Kaikoura Zone Water Management committee) and we have lost over 95% of wetlands in our region – drained and turned into farmlands.
That is where longfins used to live.
Their habitat is disappearing.
Extremes of drought are increasing in frequency (making survival even more difficult for those that remain).
Putting screens on turbine intakes on dams would make a big difference.
Making it easy for anyone to catch and transport elvers from the bottom of dams to areas beyond the dams would help (instead of threatening anyone who does such things with prosecution).
Picking on commercial fishermen is the easy thing to do. They are largely independent, and mostly acutely aware of the environment within which they work, and the threats facing it – while also facing the necessity of making a living.
Seeing the whole picture, and dealing with the entire set of issues, is much more difficult.
So while I acknowledge the problem, picking on eel fishermen is not a big part of the issue in my understanding, their impact is already managed and controlled. Reducing other impacts of wetland loss, and all the chemical contaminants we are putting into waterways through our use of things like liquid soaps, overuse of detergents etc – those are huge, and largely unknown.