Eel Research in the Thames and its Tributaries

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Small eel with eel researcher
Small eel with eel researcher

"ZSL is monitoring eel migrations in the Thames and its tributaries as a result of the decline in the number of European eels returning to the UK.

"Eel Monitoring 2The European eel (Anguilla anguilla) has long been associated with the River Thames. Recorded in the Domesday Book, eels continued to be a valuable fishery in London well into the 1800’s:

"'London from one end to the other teems and steams with eels, alive and stewed; turn where you will hot eels are everywhere smoking away' (D. Badham, 1853).

"With the eel-run an annual event of river life:

"'The elvers came up in such tens of millions that they made a black margin to the river on either side of the bank' (C.J. Cornish, 1902)

"However, recruitment of glass eels in estuarine and freshwaters has declined markedly since the early 1980s causing a major decline in the European fishery."