Reproduction of European eel in aquaculture: Consolidation and new production methods (REEL) (38398)

Project Details


Project aim: Enhance methods and technology applied to produce and culture European eel larvae as basis for the development of a future self-sustained eel aquaculture.

Background: The severe decline of the European eel stock calls for conservation measures including national eel management plans and establishment of a self-sustained eel aquaculture. In 2005, DTU Aqua, University of Copenhagen and the eel aquaculture industry started to build up a research and technology platform for the development of methods to reproduce European eel in aquaculture.

Two major projects: Artificial Reproduction of Eels II and III (ROE II and III) succeeded during 2005-2008 to produce viable eggs and larvae that lived up to 12 days. The larvae thereby accomplished the yolk sac stage and became ready to start feeding. The results were in particular promising because they evidenced that methods successfully applied to Japanese eel have a potential for application also to European eel. ROE II and III LC were supported by the Danish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries and the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG) and RO III by the Danish Food Research Program 2006.

Results: The REEL project has accomplished through three series of experiments to consolidate previous results and extend the longevity of larvae from 12 to 20 days after hatch in first feeding experiments. Methods to induce maturation were further tested, and farmed and wild eel broodstocks and different treatments were compared. In particular, fertilization procedures to produce fertilized eggs and embryos and monitoring techniques were enhanced. The technology needed to culture embryos and larvae was substantially improved. The potential for new hormonal treatments was explored and recombinant eel hormones have been produced. New broodstock diets were developed with focus on the lipid composition essential for development and survival of fish larvae. In addition, the experimental facility established by DTU Aqua at Lyksvad Fishfarm was enhanced by improving the experimental and laboratory facilities.

The REEL project has provided the basis for the establishment of an EU research project: Reproduction of European Eel: Towards a Self-sustained Aquaculture (PRO-EEL) (38793) coordinated by DTU Aqua. REEL included the partners DTU Aqua, the Danish Eel Producers Association, Billund Aquaculture, BioMar, Bioneer and Copenhagen University of which four are integrated in PRO-EEL.

The project was coordinated by DTU Aqua.

Research area: Marine Populations and Ecosystem Dynamics
Research area: Fish Biology
Effective start/end date01/01/200931/12/2010

Collaborative partners

  • Technical University of Denmark (lead)
  • BioMar A/S (Project partner)
  • University of Copenhagen (Project partner)
  • Bioneer A/S (Project partner)
  • Billund Aquaculture Service Aps (Project partner)
  • Danish Eel Farmers Association (Project partner)


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.