Finding reasons for eel's decline

A �2.5m Europe-wide research programme is under way to find out more about the breeding habits of eels and slow down their decline.The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) in Lowestoft has been taking part in the project, launched in April, to monitor eels as they head for breeding grounds 5,500km away in the Sargasso Sea, south of Bermuda.

A �2.5m Europe-wide research programme is under way to find out more about the breeding habits of eels and slow down their decline.

The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) in Lowestoft has been taking part in the project, launched in April, to monitor eels as they head for breeding grounds 5,500km away in the Sargasso Sea, south of Bermuda.

Scientists from Cefas and the Environment Agency have spent the year tagging elvers and eels with 5in satellite transmitters which float away after the fish dies. The results from the transmitters will be studied Pakefield-based laboratories.

Scientists spent July and August tracking yellow eels near Poole, in Dorset, and experts across Europe have also been involved in trapping silver eels in Ireland to monitoring the migration of eels in Spanish river basins.


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A spokesman for Cefas said that all of the tagging has been completed for this year and that findings should be published in spring 2009.

The number of eels being recorded has fallen by about 95pc in the last 20 years. It is hoped that the results of the research will show information about migration routes and the conditions which the eels experience on their journey to breed.

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