EELIAD, European Eels in the Atlantic: Assessment of Their Decline

EELIAD, European Eels in the Atlantic: Assessment of Their Decline

The EELIAD project is a research initiative to investigate the ecology and biology of European eels during their marine migrations, and how these relate to eel condition and population of origin. The information will be integrated into models to determine the most important factors that influence silver eel production and migration success. The fulfilment of this objective will provide a means to evaluate the likely success of the EU Eel Recovery Plan, to enable management actions to be most effectively directed to enhance and conserve eel stocks across Europe, and to determine the dynamics of eel population structure and reproductive success. To achieve this aim, the EELIAD project is undertaking a large-scale field programme to determine the migration routes and behaviour of silver eels during their spawning migration, and to determine ecological factors that influence the number and quality of silver eels leaving river catchments. These field studies will be supported by the use of cutting edge biotechnological analyses to determine population structure, and innovative modelling approaches that will incorporate these data into fishery management models. In addition, these different studies will be linked to studies and observations undertaken in other cooperative projects such as INDICANG which is a network of monitoring programmes that report on the status and the development of eel populations over a large area (e.g. Atlantic Area). The knowledge gained from the EELIAD research, aside from its scientific significance, will be of direct use to the conservation of eel stocks because it will help to clarify the reasons for the recent decline in the stock. This information will then be used to change and improve the way that eel fisheries and habitats are managed across Europe, and to help ensure that enough silver eels migrate to their spawning grounds to reproduce and sustain the species.

If you want to read more about this project, you can do so at

European Commission ENV.2007.
Paddy Gargan (IE), Paddy Russell (IE)

Keywords: European eels; Marine Migrations; Reproductive and migration success; Management

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