Accelerating the recovery of the European Eel

Thousands of eels get a helping hand with their migration in the Bristol Avon catchment

Over 15,000 eels have been caught and moved over migration barriers on rivers near Bristol.

Young eels ready for release

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 upstream is often blocked by the multiple sluices and weirs, reducing their ability to inhabit all 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.

In an operation between the Sustainable Eel Group, Gloucester elver fishermen and authorised by the Environmental Agency, eels were caught in the Bristol Avon estuary, near Avonmouth and Clevedon:
150 eels were released to the River Marden at Castle Field park at Calne
1165 eels were released to the River Chew between Keynsham park and Chew Valley Lake
15,000 were released to the Blind Yeo at Clevedon.

Elvers being released on the river Chew

Elvers being released on the river Chew

Our thanks to Gloucester elver fishemen  for fishing voluntarily for conservation purposes, to the Bristol Avon Rivers Trust who helped with the releases and to the Environment Agency who authorised the operation.  
This will help the eel populations to recover in these rivers and will make a contribtion to th eel’s recover across Europe.
For any queries contact David Bunt:  07770 793900