Restocking boost for European eel population

The European eel - Anguilla anguilla. Photo:
The European eel – Anguilla anguilla. Photo:

Some 376,000 young eels have been released into the Grevelingenmeer lake in an effort to replenish European stocks, local broadcaster Omroep Zeeland reports.

The action, which is part of a European-wide effort to stimulate the eel population, is being coordinated by the Dutch association for sustainable eel trade Dupan, which unites eel traders, fish farmers and professional fishermen.

The eels were caught in river estuaries in France as they made their way back from their spawning ground in the Sargossa Sea in the western Atlantic where eels from across the world congregate. They were then kept at a nursery at a fish farm to gain strength.

The eel has been making a European comeback in the last ten years. Eels cannot be farmed in numbers as they only procreate in the wild but blockades on their migration routes, pollution (which is also stored in the animal’s fatty tissue) and parasites had decimated their number.

The eel, which were counted, weighed and checked for health problems, were distributed across the Grevelingenmeer by young fishermen, Omroep Zeeland said. In March a million eels were released into the Veerse Meer and last week, a further 200,000 were set free in Friesland.

Smoked eel is considered a delicacy in the Netherlands but most of it is not wild but fattened up young eel from fish farms.

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