News, Events and Culture

Rangitāne replenish local eel stocks

Tuesday June 28 2016

As part of Project Tuna, Rangitāne have released 100 juvenile tuna (eels) into the Turitea stream to help boost their numbers.

Photo shows man with traditional Maori tattoos on his arm releasing eels into a stream.

Rangitāne are working to replenish local eel stocks.

Rangitāne environmental officers recently celebrated the release of the elvers with Palmerston North City Council staff. The release marks a significant milestone for the Rangitāne Fish Plan, one of the first iwi fish plans in New Zealand.

The fish plan sets out the iwi’s objectives for developing commercial fishing, managing habitat and protecting species.

Eels are a taonga (treasure). Repatriating them to depleted habitats is a priority.

Eel species released as elvers include the endangered longfin eel. They were successfully raised from glass eels caught on the coast as they migrated back from the Pacific Ocean.

Turitea Stream was one of several sites around the region selected for releases this autumn, because of its ideal habitat and its low eel numbers.

The ceremony also marked the close of the summer joint fish trap and transfer programme at the Turitea water supply dams.

The programme is an ongoing partnership between Palmerston North City Council and Rangitāne o Manawatū to ensure native fish have access to the pristine waters in remnant bush above the dams.

Supported by Horizons Regional Council, NIWA, DOC, Massey University and Fish and Game, the project reflects the need for collaboration to secure the future of our native fish.