Eel's duck-hunting days over
A Waipopo Huts resident was astounded to haul in a whopping 1.1-metre eel from an Opihi River tributary stream yesterday morning.
Bill Tutaki, who has lived at the huts for 10 years, said he was out duck shooting when a bird he had shot floated upside-down along the stream.
"This had it," he told The Timaru Herald, holding up a big New Zealand longfin eel.
"I saw him and I thought `better get him out because he'll eat all the baby ducks and fish'." It was a rare eel, Mr Tutaki said. He had never come across one that big in the area.
"I've seen ones bigger than that, but not down here.
"These ones don't go out to sea ... but you need to catch them and get them out of the water because they eat all the little native fish and the trout and baby ducks and things like that."
Mr Tutaki is helping create a wetland in Seadown Rd for a farmer.
"Hence, getting rid of [the eel]. I understand they've got to be there, that's part of the ecology, but they take a bit of the little life away."
He declined to reveal the exact location where he found the eel, as it was on private property. It could have been there for some time.
Mr Tutaki planned to smoke his catch, vacuum pack it and send it to a friend who owned a cafe in New Plymouth.
- The longfin eel (Anguilla dieffenbachii) is New Zealand's only endemic freshwater eel.It is classified as a threatened species in gradual decline by the Conservation Department.
- Like other members of the Anguillidae family, longfin eels' migration involves maturing into fertile adults in freshwater then migrating to the sea to breed and die.Females can live more than 100 years and weigh up to 24kg.
- Longfin eels have an omnivorous diet. When young, they largely eat insect larvae, but when bigger they also feed on small fish.
- © Fairfax NZ News