Behaviour of stocked and wild eels during migration

Behaviour of stocked and naturally recruited European eels during migration – Stocked European eels also find their way towards Sargasso Sea

An objection to the stocking of translocated eels as a management measure for the European eel (Anguilla anguilla L.) is that these eels may lack the ability to find their way back to the spawning area in the Sargasso Sea because the translocation will confuse their imprinted navigation.


However, new research published by Håkan Westerberg et al in the Marine Ecology Progress Series does not support the hypothesis that a sequential imprinting of the route during the immigration is necessary for adequate orientation or behaviour during the adult spawning migration.

In this study (link given below) it was found that there were no statistically significant differences in estuarine or oceanic behaviour regarding route, swimming speed and preferred swimming depth between stocked and naturally recruited eels

Therefore it is likely that stocked European eels also find their way towards the Sargasso Sea.

Read the full abstract here: