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Eel Live follows the behaviour of the eels

Here at the Maretarium we have a unique population of very old eels. These eels are almost 50 years old, up to 120 cm long and weigh up to 4 kg! Because of their old age, they are very sensitive for anything that would trigger their puberty. In 2019, the first female spontaneously matured, the first eel ever outside of their spawning grounds in the Sargasso Sea. Together with researchers from LUKE here in Finland and from Wageningen University and Research in The Netherlands we study their progress in sexual maturation by measuring the eels regularly and observing their behavior.

Would you like to help us? Please let us know if you notice any unusual eel behaviour in the live video, be sure to include the date and time of the sighting so we can check with the recording.

Maretarium’s “eel live” is on only at night, from 7 pm in the evening until 10 am in the morning, the rest of the time we observe fish here in Maretarium on site.

“Solving bottlenecks in eel reproduction to support sustainable aquaculture” will start in Autumn 2023

World-wide, eel populations have decreased strongly in numbers since the 1970s. The eel farms still depend on catches of wild juvenile eels, or ‘glass eels’, which are then raised to market size. Only a restricted number of glass eels is available for aquaculture and societal concern exists about the unsustainable level of their harvesting.

Successful propagation in captivity could supply aquaculture with glass eels and close the production cycle. Eel aquaculture can become sustainable then and, by releasing the natural population from fishing pressure, also contribute to sustainable management of the natural population. With our international consortium of partners that has tremendous experience in eel research, we aim to share our knowledge and collaborate to force breakthroughs in the propagation of eel in captivity. This is an absolute necessity as the partners currently depend on national funding and lack an international networking umbrella. he COST Action EEL SUPPORT will use the available networking tools to jointly share the state-of- the-art, to identify knowledge gaps, to develop collaborative strategies to fill these gaps, and to synthesize and review this knowledge in order to: i) design optimal protocols for broodstock conditioning from glass eel to an eel in early puberty, or ‘silver eel’; ii) design optimal protocols to artificially mature and propagate the eel to produce larvae, and iii) design hatchery technology for rearing larvae to the glass eel stage. This way, EEL SUPPORT will contribute to closing the production cycle and supporting sustainable aquaculture and management of natural populations.