You have 1 minute to live
What would you do for that minute? Tough question, and interesting to consider that the shorter the length of time and the length of time you have to consider your options the harder that decision is. The overwhelming data quantitatively informs us that the exponential growth of the human population on our lovely little planet is pushing us to a point where decisions need to be made quickly. If we do manage to make the right decisions (and frankly i doubt we have the collective intelligence) then we’ll look back on individuals like David Suzuki and wonder why we didn’t act sooner.
The New Zealand long-finned eel (Anguilla dieffenbachii) is yet another litmus to these facts. This magnificent species of eel supported Maori culture for hundreds of years and flourished in the waters of New Zealand for millennia. However, over the last century they’ve collapsed in numbers and a quick look at their biology tells us exactly why.
These eels live a long time, as long as us. But unlike us, they live a long life in the freshwater systems of New Zealand before females are ready to breed, sometimes as much as 60 years. And finally when the urge takes them they head down stream and then begin a final oceanic journey to the warm waters of the tropical Pacific where they spawn, probably somewhere near Samoa. So every eel caught for food from the freshwater rivers and lakes of New Zealand is an eel that hasn’t bred. Take enough of them and the populations stop replacing themselves. It’s now a challenge to find an adult eel over large areas of the North Island. Once again, we’ve over-harvested. Why? Well ignorance and naivety used to be our excuse but that doesn’t wash these days. Now it’s because of greed, economic ‘value’ and a bone-headed sense of ‘rights’ some myopic individuals cling to. We should all be able to enjoy the sight of eels in our rivers and the taste of them on our bbqs, but to have those things we need to limit our consumption or better still, limit ourselves.