Accelerating the recovery of the European Eel

31 March – UK’s biggest ever initiative to help endangered eels

UK’s biggest ever initiative to help endangered eels starts on River Parrett on Monday night (31 March)

Fishermen will try to catch 1 million baby eels for re-homing… in 1 night!

Volunteer fishermen and conservationists are planning to catch and re-home 1 million baby eels on the River Parrett on Monday – 31 March – to kick start the UK’s biggest ever initiative to help the endangered eel recover.

The number of elvers (young eels) arriving in west country estuaries on spring tides this year is estimated to be at least 10 times bigger than last year. Hundreds of millions have arrived in the last 5 weeks.

Considering the European Eel is still listed as  “critically endangered”, this is massive news – but there’s a problem.

The tiny fish need to swim upriver to mature and develop – but the waterways are blocked by weirs, dams and thousands of man made barriers.

So they need our help. Last year it took us nearly 6 months to catch and move 1 million fish upriver, in a process known as restocking.

This year, with the abundance of fish in the river, we want to smash that figure – and will start by trying to catch 1 million fish in 1 night.

Conditions on Monday night are expected to be best for catching the shy creatures, with a big spring tide peaking soon after nightfall and no moon overhead.

The fish will be caught in hand nets by Environment Agency authorised fishermen, then collected together and re-homed upriver according to a detailed plan created by scientists from the Rivers Trusts.

Andrew Kerr, Chairman of Sustainable Eel Group, said “Eels are back in huge numbers. Hundreds of millions are arriving this year, but they need human help to reach their natural habitats.”

“95% of them will die if they stay in the estuary, so we’ve mobilised dozens of fishermen and conservationists to catch and re-home them upriver.”

For more details, please contact:

Simon Soffe: 07887 850420 / 0117 318 0735 /

Andrew Kerr: 07887 993924 /