Maori Name: Tunarehe
Latin Name: Anguilla dieffenbachii
Weight: up to 20kg
Length: 0.5–1.2m, reaching 2mFamily:
Longfinned eels belong to the Anguillidae family (freshwater eels) and are endemic to New Zealand.
Longfinned eels are caught year-round in the North Island and in spring to autumn in the South Island.
They live mainly in freshwater but migrate and breed in the ocean. In colder regions, the eels hibernate in winter.
Sustainability of this New Zealand fish stock is ensured through the world-leading Fisheries Act and Quota Management System (QMS). The QMS guides the sustainable use of New Zealand fisheries. Find out what the QMS is and how it works.
Many Longfinned eels are caught on their seaward migration (when they have a higher fat content), often in fyke nets or traps and pots.
Eels are often smoked, and available as either fillets or pieces.
Female longfinned eels have been recorded aged over 100 years. These grand old ladies, often two metres or more long, are possibly the largest freshwater eels in the world.
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.
Eel (Longfinned) is a good source of Selenium, VitaminA, Niacin (vitamin B3), Vitamin B12, Vitamin Dand Vitamin E; and a source of Iodine, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Thiamin (vitamin B1), Riboflavin (vitamin B2) and VitaminB6.
Seafood is a highly nutritious food and is a great source of protein. Many species are low in saturated fat and a number of them are a good source of Omega3.