Sustainable eel management for the River Shannon

I attended attended a meeting of the Sustainable Eel Group (SEG) in London this week, and it is was compelling to hear first-hand about the huge runs of glass eels and elvers in the UK and other European countries this year. It was also inspiring to hear about all the work that the SEG and Environment Agency are doing to help these juvenile eels in the UK though capture and restocking, and though the provision of hundreds of eel passes at barriers to migration. The run in the UK was so immense this year that elver stations on the River Severn were overwhelmed and had to close down when the first runs arrived. In 2013 some 40 million glass eels were relocated in Europe. In 2014 the SEG is expecting that the figure will be 60-70 million!

Glass eels, Shannon estuary
Glass eels, Shannon estuary

I gave a talk on the current situation regarding eels in Ireland, and gave my vision of how eels could be managed sustainably on the River Shannon. The first step is making the most of the current incredible upturn in the abundance of juvenile eels; which currently only represents a missed opportunity in Ireland. I highlighted the problems with the current management approach on the River Shannon where eel fishing was banned, but not a single restriction was imposed on hydroelectric power generation activities. In a sustainably managed Shannon eel fishery we would maximise recruitment and replace hydroelectric turbine passage mortality with a sustainable fishery to the benefit of the eel, traditional fishermen and local communities alike.

Download my talk at the link below-

In association with the SEG and the Institute of Fisheries Management there are now plans to hold a conference in Limerick in the summer on the topic of eel management in Ireland and the sustainable management approach. I would be very interested in hearing any views from people who would be interested in both attending and contributing to this potentially seismic conference!

Also, please contact me if you have any queries about this planned conference.