European eels (Anguilla anguilla). (Photo: sustainableeelgroup)
Eel restocking studied in Oria Basin
Monday, May 23, 2011, 22:40 (GMT + 9)
Scientists from the Technological Center of Marine and Food Research (AZTI-Tecnalia) are studying the restocking of the three phases of the European eel (Anguilla anguilla) in May, June and July, respectively, in three streams in the Oria basin, in Guipúzcoa.
To carry out this project, AZTI team is having the collaboration of the Biodiversity Foundation, the Provincial Council of Guipúzcoa and the Basque Water Agency (URA).
The investigation will verify the survival and development of baby eels, angulotes and eels, and then to develop and implement recovery plans for the species.
In addition, the initiative is expected to help improve the information regarding the status of the baby eel phase, and provide for an estimate of the leakage of silver eels and the mortality caused by electric turbines in the reproductive phase.
Even though the study will be conducted in a pilot basin, the data, methodologies, tools and the developed proposals may be applicable in other watersheds, especially in the north of the country.
The European eel, which is present in almost the entire European continent and northern Africa, is a unique resource from the biological standpoint. Most of the species growth occurs in fresh water and breeding takes place in the Sargasso Sea.
In recent decades, eel stocks suffered a severe decline throughout Europe due to several factors: habitat loss and degradation, pollution, barriers to movement in rivers, overfishing, ocean changes and diseases and parasites.
On 1 October last year, the European Commission (EC) approved the Management Plan of the European eel in the Basque Autonomous Community, which includes concrete measures and provides for a monitoring and a research program.
The main objective is to reduce the eel mortality through strict compliance with the conditions for fishing license renewal, catch quotas and the shortening of the fishing season.
In addition, several reserves were declared permanent: three main rivers area and two secondary rivers (Oiartzun; Urumea and Barbadun -- Iñurritza and Andraka).
By Analia Murias