There are fewer eels today because of the loss of wetlands and historical commercial fishing practice.
Currently, the commercial eel fishery is managed by the Ministry of Primary Industries under the Quota Management System.
Eels migrate up streams as elvers to find suitable adult habitat.
After many years 15-30 years for short fins, 25 years for long-fins, and sometimes up to 80 years they migrate to the Pacific Ocean to breed and die.
Eels are secretive, mainly nocturnal and prefer habitats with plenty of cover.
Longfin eels can be found throughout New Zealand.
They live mainly in rivers and inland lakes but can be found in almost all types of waters, usually well inland from the coast.
They are legendary climbers and have made their way well inland in most river systems, even those with natural barriers.
Elvers - young eels swimming up river will climb waterfalls and even dams by leaving the water and wriggling over damp areas
. It is not unheard of for an eel to climb a waterfall of up to 20 metres