Over 300 eels have been caught and moved above the Bruton flood storage reservoir
The annual spring migration of elvers (young eels of the common or European eel) from the sea into our estuaries and rivers is nearly over. Their migration further upstream is often blocked by multiple sluices and weirs, reducing their ability to inhabit the freshwater habitats that should be available to them. This limits the recovery of the whole eel population which is estimated to have reduced by 90 – 95% since the 1980s.
The river Brue in Somerset has many barriers along its course and, above Bruton, the flood storage reservoir is a barrier to any fish wishing to migrate upstream. This is because the river is culverted under the reservoir for about 100 metres.
In an operation between the Sustainable Eel Group and Bridgwater elver fishermen, eels were caught in the River Parrett near Bridgwater, then released to many places in Somerset, including over 300 on the upper river Brue.
Our thanks to Patricia Stainton of the Forest of Selwood and Patrick Thomson who are champions for rewilding nature for the Forest of Selwood, who helped release the eels into local streams.
We are also grateful to the Environment Agency who authorised the operation.