In New Zealand, John Wilkie and other members Waitaki Native Fish Committee catch the mature female Longfin Eels above the dams and transfer them safely past the deadly turbines which would be the end of their journey to the sea to spawn. The female lives for upwards of 80-100 years in the upper streams before changing body shape to begin her migration back to the Tonga Trench, where she will die and her body will become the nursery for the emerging baby eels.
The Longfin Eel is indigenous to New Zealand and precious to the Maori people, who have depended on the eel for survival. Now the species is threatened by dams, overfishing and degradation of habitat. Increasingly, New Zealanders are recognizing the importance of this fascinating species and are working to save them before it's too late.