New Zealand: Water pumps killing native eels


Photo (C) Forest and Bird.

In New Zealand, a recent study has shown that council-owned pumps, some of which were installed many years ago, are killing native eels.

Both the New Zealand longfin eel (Anguilla dieffanbachii) and shorfin eel (A. australis) are affected.

Eels are chopped up as they swim through the turbines, with mortality of up to 100% for eels >60 cm (2 ft) in length, which means the loss of many migratory females that are up to 100 years old and carrying millions of eggs.
All of the eels that survived were smaller males and the pumps themselves could also be limiting access to upstream habitats.

The good news is that there is a new, eel-friendly version of the pumps in testing and $1.5 million in funding has been approved for a three year trial.
Preliminary results show that 29 out of 30 eels were able to swim through the new pumps.

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