Eels are very special fish. They have a complicated life cycle requiring them to swim large distances up to 6000 kilometers, the longest distance of any fish species. This long migration between sea and rivers makes them vulnerable to obstructions. Due to many obstructions in their migration routes they are already seriously endangerd.
To raise awareness on the poor conservations status of the Eel, World Fish Migration Day 2016 featured an international eel count. In various countries in europe organisations organised special events to spread the word.
In the Netherlands groups of enthousiastic volunteers monitored 22 different locations at important sluices and pumping stations along the North sea coast, rivers and canals as part of ongoing citizen science programs. On 7 locations glass eels, transparant juvenile eels were caught by volunteers. Read the Dutch article about the eel count here.
In the United Kingdom serveral organisations participated in the Eel Count with the citizen science monitoring of eels at fish passage facilities. Also the sustainable Eel Group released 29.3 million eels throughout Europe to improve the populations of the endangered eels.
The Eel Count is the first large scale cooperation to create awareness on the fate of migratory fish like eels, involving more than 200 citizen scientist in 3 countries. By involve citizens in monitoring we are actively increasing knowledge on these endangered species. The Eel count was part of the World Fish Migration Day 2016. In total the World Fish Migration Day reached a number of more than 8 million people through citizen science programs, events on the ground and social media.