Wherever there is water, from salt water estuaries right up to alpine lakes you will find eels – that is, if insurmountable obstacles haven’t stopped them getting there. The quality of those waterways along with free passage and abundant food availability determine just how well their populations will do.
In the interest of development, humans have altered waterways, drained wetlands, channelled flood plains and modified riparian margins. We have built weirs, dams, culverts, flood control pumps and all manner of impediments to fish passage. Siltation, nitrification, irrigation and pollutants are major issues of concern for eels!
In recent years, there has been a growing awareness that human development is stressing our eel populations (along with inshore fisheries such as rock lobster and paua). It would be fair to say that improvements to our practices are being introduced along with this new awareness.
Let us hope that, if the last 100 years caused great damage to eel habitat, the next 100 will redress and bring improvement.
EECo is committed to this work.
Revitalise the Mauri