1 Tahrcountry Musings: England - Crash of Eel Population Worries Conservationists

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

England - Crash of Eel Population Worries Conservationists

A baffling rapid decline of eels in Welsh rivers has flummoxed the conservationists and made them a worried lot. Overfishing and dams that stop elvers (Young eels) migrating up rivers are suspects.

Since 1980 there has been 70% decrease in the number of eels making the two-year migration from the Caribbean. Limits on eel catches do not seem to work. To add to the worries we still don’t know where exactly eels spawn. Smallest eels were recorded in the Sargasso Sea. Young eels, called glass eels are carried by the Gulf Stream and reach river systems across Europe.

Eel is a prized lot. Recently market prices hit a record $2800 per kilogramme. Last year CITES recommended that trade in eels should be controlled. Scientists who advise the European Commission on CITES has called for zero exports this year. Strangely at a meeting in Brussels last week, France which happens to be Europe's leading exporter vetoed the suggestion.

Unless concerted international action is taken on a war footing the outlook for eels looks very bleak.

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