Eel hatchery technology for a sustainable aquaculture (EEL-HATCH) (39181)

Project Details


Hatchery and rearing technology for commercial production of glass eels is fundamental to sustainable and profitable eel aquaculture. The vision is to enhance existing technology to rear European eel larvae to the glass eel stage, thereby closing the lifecycle in captivity. Pioneering research of the consortium has raised eel breeding from a state of reproductive failure to stable production of viable larvae.

Objectives include: Design “state of the art” hatchery facilities, optimize broodstock feeds, enhance assisted reproductive technology, and develop larval culture systems and diets. The main success criterion is achievement of large scale culture of larvae throughout the larval stage, leading to glass eel production. The establishment of sustainable aquaculture of this endangered species, presently relying on captive glass eel will rebuild the highly profitable market for eel aquaculture and suppliers as well as assist in conservation and stock management plans.

Results obtained during the half of the project period include the design and establishment of a dedicated research facility in relation to DTU Aqua in Hirtshals, involving several partners. The facility applies recirculation aquaculture systems with emphasis on matured water technology and microbial control. Scientific highlights include successful production of recombinant European eel gonadotropic hormones; enhanced reproduction, fertilization and incubation procedures; and optimized larval culture conditions, including e.g. temperature, salinity, and light regime. Larval diets have been developed and tested in first feeding and behavioral experiments, leading to the first published work on larval feeding for this species. Experiments on improved diets and optimized rearing tanks for larval growth are ongoing.

DTU Aqua, National Institute of Aquatic Resources (coordinator)
National Food Institute (DTU Food), Technical University of Denmark
Billund Aquaculture Service, Denmark
BioMar, Denmark
North Sea Science Park, Denmark
Bioneer, Denmark
STMI, Denmark
Danish Aquaculture Organization, Denmark

This project is funded by Innovation Fund Denmark.

Research area: Fish Biology
Research area: Aquaculture
Research area: Ecosystem based Marine Management
Effective start/end date01/04/201430/09/2017

Collaborative partners

  • Technical University of Denmark (lead)
  • BioMar A/S (Project partner)
  • STMI (Project partner)
  • Bioneer A/S (Project partner)
  • Billund Aquaculture Service Aps (Project partner)
  • North Sea Science Park (Project partner)
  • Danish Aquaculture Association (Project partner)


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