Māori Name: Tuna
Name Scientific: Anguilla australis
The contemporary commercial eel fishery dates from the mid-1960s when markets were established in Europe and Asia. Eel catches are greatly influenced by water temperature, flood events (increased catches) and drought conditions (reduced catches). Catches decline in winter months, particularly in the South Island. The eel fisheries in the South Island, Chatham Island and North Island were introduced to the Quota Management System from 2000-2004. Minimum and maximum size limits exist across the country. Recreational fishers are limited to a daily bag limit of six eels. They are also an important customary fishery, which is managed by authorisations issued under the fisheries regulations. Indices of abundance for longfin and shortfin eels are available from commercial catch data for those areas that are commercially fished.Monitoring of recruitment is often combined with work to mitigate the effect of hydro-power dams.
Eels are often smoked, and available as either fillets or pieces.
Unless you are catching your own, eels are usually available as a processed product, rather than a fresh item.