Slippery eels provide valuable insight

They may be challenging to catch but the slippery eels surveyed at Wainono Lagoon this month provide us with valuable information.

Environment Canterbury biodiversity staff, have spent two days carefully catching, weighing and measuring longfin and shortfin tuna as part of the annual eel survey, which provides scientific information to Te Rūnanga o Waihao’s Te Mana O Te Wai Project.

The annual eel monitoring helps scientists to better understand eel populations and also provides an indicator of overall ecological health in Wainono Lagoon and its catchments. All the data will be collated and then analysed by an expert in native tuna.

The team individually measure each eel out of the sample caught from the lagoon.

The Wainono Lagoon is a 480-hectare coastal lagoon and wetland of national and international importance for its birdlife and native fish. Its importance derives from the lagoon’s size, diversity of habitats and location in a chain of coastal wetlands. The lagoon and its tributaries are highly significant to Waihao rūnanga as a mahinga kai source and a cultural site.

The Wainono Lagoon Te Mana O Te Wai project is funded by the Ministry for the Environment with contributions from Environment Canterbury and the Department of Conservation. It is led by the rūnanga and aims to improve the water quality of the lagoon through a range of measures.

If you would like to read more about Te Mana O Te Wai Wainono Lagoon Project visit our Lower Waitaki South Coastal Canterbury Zone Biodiversity website.

It takes the team about two days to carry out the monitoring exercise, which happens once a year in early autumn.

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