Opportunities for Indigenous Mâori Knowledge to Contribute to Information on Anguilla Australis (New Zealand Shortfin) and Anguilla Dieffenbachii (New Zealand Longfin) and the Management of the New Zealand Eel Fishery

Tuesday, August 19, 2014: 2:30 PM
207 (Centre des congrès de Québec // Québec City Convention Centre)
Doug Jones , Te Wai Maori Trust and Te Ohu Kaimoana (NZ), Wellington, New Zealand
Dr Mick Kearney , Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi Indigenous University, Auckland, New Zealand
Mâori are concerned that data collection programmes used to assess New Zealand’s native freshwater eel fishery exclude indigenous knowledge, monitoring and customary practices of local tribes and sub-tribes. There is an opportunity for Mâori to contribute to the management of the shortfin and longfin fishery.

In 2013, an international review panel assessed information available on the status of the New Zealand eel population. The panel agreed that longfin has been substantially reduced relative to its pristine numbers; however populations have been relatively stable in recent years with examples of increases in standardised catch rates. The panel also recommended improvements on current monitoring methods such as data collection at a finer scale and more information on spawner escapement.

The ability of Mâori to monitor at a finer spatial scale and provide information on spawner escapement during traditional harvest highlighted how indigenous knowledge can complement the management tools and structures currently being utilised. Customary harvest results for one catchment during spawner escapement had an estimated catch of 3 to 4 tonnes over 7 days. Other iwi projects showed an increase in Longfin elver recruitment; population surveys varied with some areas showing close to 50:50 species ratio over a 2 year time series.