100 endangered eels arrive at the River Great Ouse after travelling 3,000km
PUBLISHED: 13:11 19 May 2020 | UPDATED: 13:13 19 May 2020
More than 100 eels have arrived at an eel pass on the River Great Ouse in Cambridgeshire after travelling 3,000km from the Sargasso Sea in the Atlantic Ocean.
Environment Agency officers have welcomed the arrival of elvers (juvenile eels) for the first time this year at Brownshill Staunch eel pass, downstream of St Ives.
European eels are a critically endangered species and the Environment Agency leads on eel conservation in England.
Their work involves building and installing eel passes which improves access to habitat. The Environment Agency also protects eels from illegal fishing, abstraction and works with partners to reduce the impacts of the industries it regulates.
Young elvers travel from the sea to freshwater where they grow and thrive. Eels spend up to 50 years maturing in freshwater, eventually returning back to the Sargasso to spawn.
As the eels migrate they go through Environment Agency eel passes so officers can count and monitor them. Eel passes are checked weekly from May to September.
Kye Jerrom, Environment Agency fisheries specialist in East Anglia, said: “The elver migration is essential for eels to complete their lifecycle.
“Barriers in freshwater like locks, sluices and mills can slow down their movements restricting the amount of river habitat eels have access to.
“Eel passes provide a way around or over these structures and also equip us with a great opportunity to count and monitor them.
“We check our eels passes weekly from May to September and the data we collect is essential in shaping future work and conservation efforts.
“We are thrilled to see the first hundred eels at the pass and expect thousands more by the end of summer.”
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