Project Details


The EELIAD project was a research initiative to investigate the ecology and biology of European eels during their marine migrations, and how these relate to eel condition and population of origin. The information has been integrated into models to determine the most important factors that influence silver eel production and migration success. The fulfillment of this objective will provide a means to evaluate the likely success of the EU eel recovery plan, to enable management actions to be most effectively directed to enhance and conserve eel stocks across Europe, and to determine the dynamics of eel population structure and reproductive success.

To achieve this aim we undertook a large-scale field program to determine the migration routes and behavior of silver eels during their spawning migration, and to determine ecological factors that influence the number and quality of silver eels leaving river catchments.

These field studies were supported by the use of cutting edge biotechnological analyses to determine population structure and innovative modeling approaches aiming to incorporate these data into fishery management models. In addition, these different studies were linked to studies and observations undertaken in other cooperative projects such as INDICANG which is a network of monitoring programs that report on the status and the development of eel populations over a large area (e.g. Atlantic Area).

The knowledge gained from the EELIAD research, aside from its scientific significance, have been of direct use to the conservation of eel stocks because it helps to clarify the reasons for the recent decline in the stock. This information will then be used to change and improve the way that eel fisheries and habitats are managed across Europe, and to help ensure that enough silver eels migrate to their spawning grounds to reproduce and sustain the species.

The project was coordinated by Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Sciences (CEFAS), UK and funded by EU, Framework Programme 7.

Research area: Freshwater Fisheries and Ecology
Research area: Observation Technology
Effective start/end date01/01/200831/12/2012

Collaborative partners

  • Technical University of Denmark (lead)
  • Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (Project partner)
  • CSIC (Project partner)
  • Marine Institute (Project partner)
  • Centre for Agricultural and Environmental Engineering Research (Project partner)
  • Swedish National Board of Fisheries (Project partner)
  • Université de Pau et des Pays de l'Adour (Project partner)
  • Cefas Weymouth Laboratory (Project partner)
  • Institut français de recherche pour l'exploitation de la mer (Project partner)
  • Muséum national d'histoire naturelle (Project partner)
  • Laboratoire de Biologie et d’Ecologie Tropicale et Méditerranéenne (Project partner)


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