To discover where New Zealand eels breed, scientist Don Jellyman releases a tagged longfin female eel into the sea off Lake Ellesmere on the Canterbury coast in May 2001. Ten eels were released, wearing tags designed to float to the surface and send data to satellites. But only three tags did this. One popped up 161 days later 160 kilometres north-east of New Caledonia. This suggests the spawning grounds are somewhere in the tropics, but their exact location remains a mystery. Data revealed that the eels were diving deep during the day to avoid predators, and swimming in warmer surface waters under cover of night.
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