Journal Article

Assessment of population size and migration routes of silver eel in the River Rhine based on a 2-year combined mark-recapture and telemetry study

Jan Klein Breteler, Tim Vriese, Jost Borcherding, André Breukelaar, Lothar Jörgensen, Stefan Staas, Gerard de Laak and Detlev Ingendahl

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 64, issue 7, pages 1450-1456
Published in print October 2007 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online September 2007 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/icesjms/fsm130
Assessment of population size and migration routes of silver eel in the River Rhine based on a 2-year combined mark-recapture and telemetry study

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Klein Breteler, J., Vriese, T., Borcherding, J., Breukelaar, A., Jörgensen, L., Staas, S., de Laak, G., and Ingendahl, D. 2007. Assessment of population size and migration routes of silver eel in the River Rhine based on a 2-year combined mark-recapture and telemetry study. – ICES Journal of Marine Science, 64: 1450–1456.

More than 3000 female silver eels >50 cm were marked and released in the River Rhine at Cologne in 2004 and 2005, and more than 4000 and 6000 per year, respectively, were checked for marks in the different Rhine branches close to the sea. Migration pathways of downstream-migrating eels were also tracked by telemetry from the point of release (300–350 km from the sea, depending on the migration route) through the three main branches of the Rhine (Waal, Nederrijn + Lek, IJssel + Lake IJsselmeer) to the sea. Downstream migration to the sea took from <2 d to more than a year, but was generally in October and November of the year of release. Most successful migrators seemed to find their way to the sea via the Nieuwe Waterweg rather than via Lake IJsselmeer or Haringvliet. Some 23% of released eels of the 2004 cohort and 15% of the 2005 cohort made it to the sea in less than 2 years. The telemetry data suggest that the Nederrijn + Lek watercourse, the only location where hydropower stations have been built in the lower Rhine system, might be important for downstream migration of eels only in the years with greater discharges, suggesting that management measures should concentrate on the Waal and downstream sections to improve spawning escapement of the silver eel population of the Rhine system.

Keywords: Anguilla anguilla; eel; mark-recapture; migration; population size; Rhine; silver eel; telemetry

Journal Article.  5334 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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