Journal Article

Current status and temporal trends in stocks of European eel in England and Wales

A. Bark, B. Williams and B. Knights

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 64, issue 7, pages 1368-1378
Published in print October 2007 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online August 2007 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/icesjms/fsm117
Current status and temporal trends in stocks of European eel in England and Wales

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Bark, A., Williams, B., and Knights, B. 2007. Current status and temporal trends in stocks of European eel in England and Wales. – ICES Journal of Marine Science, 64: –.

An extensive 4-year programme of catchment surveys, data collection, and model development for eels was undertaken to establish the status of the stocks in England and Wales, so that appropriate management action can be taken. Nine test catchments representing different geographical areas and catchment types were studied, covering 14 rivers, two estuaries, and a fresh-water lagoon. Data were collected via electric fishing, fykenetting, fixed eel racks, and elver traps. In all, 13 500 eels were caught, weighed, and measured, and the sex and age of a subsample of 1400 determined. Despite declining recruitment, eel stocks in some, perhaps many, west coast rivers are probably still at or near to carrying capacity, with male-dominated populations. In other rivers, particularly those towards the southeast of England, current and historical data indicate declining female-dominated stocks. For rivers where recruitment is not limiting, there appears to be a direct relationship between the standing stock of eels and the mean nitrate level. This relationship potentially facilitates the application of a biomass-based biological reference point for eels for application to individual catchments. The data also suggest that it may be possible to develop reference points based on mean eel length or sex ratio.

Keywords: Anguilla anguilla; assessment; management; population; reference points; stocks

Journal Article.  7545 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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