Feed them, don’t eat them – local eels at risk

18 May 2015

Otari-Wilton's Bush eels are at risk of illegal fishing

Large Eel in Otari-Wilton's Bush stream
Resize

A local Wilton resident, Hannah Steel, was feeding the eels in Wilton's Bush when she noticed that a local favourite had a hook in its snout.

“My partner and I often head down to Wilton’s Bush to feed the eels and this is the first time we have seen this. This particular eel is quite large and passive, it was upsetting to see it in such a distressed state” she says.
 
Council staff who were informed of the incident say that it highlights the importance for the public to be aware that it is illegal to catch eels in the reserve.
 
“Reserves are there to protect our indigenous biodiversity, whether plant, bird or fish. Not only is it illegal, but any further harm to this animal will upset many people who value this eel and go to feed it.” says Myfanwy Emeny, WCC Team Leader, Urban Ecology.  
 
“The number of eels in Wellington has diminished due to the streams being polluted or piped. Eels also only breed once, at the end of their life which can be as long as 100 years. We need to protect these eels to ensure that they are around for the generations to come.” she says.
 
The Otari-Wilton’s Bush staff will be keeping an eye on activity around the stream, and the public are encouraged to report anyone eeling within reserves to the Wellington City Council on 04 499 444.