The numbers of eels (Anguilla anguilla) have greatly declined over the past 20 years.
This is due to a number of factors including loss of habitat, pollution and the steady addition over the years of weirs and other barriers preventing eels from reaching their spawning ground. The number of elvers (young eels) entering UK rivers has fallen by 95% and the species is now greatly endangered. As a consequence of this and in line with the EC Directive, the Eel (England & Wales) Regulations 2009 came into force in January 2010, and are designed to establish measures for the recovery of the eel population, including the use of eel passes and crawling gutters on existing and planned river obstructions such as weirs and dams.
An eel crawling gutter can either be formed from natural materials, in keeping with the local landscape, or fabricated from modern materials which enable rapid installation without the need for any specialist equipment. Recently, Thomson Habitats assisted a riverside development site in Surrey where we supplied the client with a length of bespoke eel crawling gutter to be fitted as part of the redevelopment of a weir to allow eels to migrate upstream.
We are also involved in several other similar projects to build fish passes.