March 12, 2014
New bylaws to protect Waikato tuna
Anyone catching eels larger than 2 kilograms in the Waikato River will be required to put them back in the water.
The taking of female longfin eels that are in the migratory phase is also barred under new bylaws, which come into effect from April 10.
The bylaws apply only to the Waikato-Tainui fisheries area from Port Waikato to Karapiro and part of the Waipa River.
Rahui Papa, the chair of tribal executive Te Arataura, says they will aid efforts to restore the Waikato River by enhancing the sustainability of its native fisheries resources.
He says the tribe developed the six bylaws in collaboration with the commercial eel sector and the wider community.
They allow for temporary raahui on the taking of fisheries resources if someone dies in the river.
Commercial harvest of eels will be banned from specific streams and rivers of the Whangamarino wetland during the tuna heke or eel migration from March to the end of May, and the minimum weight for commercially harvested eels has been increased.
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