Accelerating the recovery of the European Eel

2.5 million young eels released in Randmeren, Netherlands

On Wednesday, 3 March, 2.5 million young eels were released in the Dutch Randmeren lakes. The elvers arrived by truck from France. They were weighed and counted at the quay in the harbours of Elburg, Harderwijk and Huizen and then released into the wild.

The release of these exceptionally large numbers of young eel (glass eel) is possible due to the increased growth of glass eel along the European coast. Since 2011, the number of glass eel along the European coasts has been increasing again (ICES report 2019), after decades of decline. Because the Dutch coasts are impenetrable for young eel, part of the glass eel that accumulates in France is released in the Netherlands.
Around 800 kilograms of glass eel are used to restock the Randmeren. That is approximately 2,500,000 young eel.
This spring, young eel are released at various locations in the Netherlands. It is expected that around 3 million young eel will enhance the natural environment. With these numbers, the maximum amount for repopulation is reached in many stocking areas (more eel cannot live in those areas). The areas suitable for restocking are selected by the government. When the elvers grow into mature eels (so-called silver eels), they can swim freely from the restocking areas to the Atlantic Ocean to provide for their offspring in the Sargasso Sea.

Cooperating parties
This stocking operation has been made possible by the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality. The European Fund for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries has supported the purchase of glass eel and elver.
The project is co-financed by the Eel Stewardship Fund (ESF®) and coordinated by DUPAN.

Counting and weighing (DUPAN, 2021)

HK3 on Lake Drontermeer (DUPAN, 2021)

Release of glass eels into the Drontermeer (DUPAN, 2021)

Glass eels, ready for release (DUPAN, 2021)

original post available in Dutch on