Posted on Jan 26, 2015

Update in policy to help increase eel stocks

The European eel (Anguilla anguilla) has suffered huge stock declines over the years caused by migration barriers, water quality, disease and fishing pressures. Eels are classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species as Critically Endangered and numbers of new eels reaching spawning grounds have reduced by as much as 95% in some UK rivers.


Eels spawn in the Sargasso sea and then migrate to coastal and inland waters (from between 1 to 3 years) where they grow into glass eels. These glass eels (transparent and 6 cm long) migrate further up rivers where they grow into elversa and after 10-15 years, grow into adults or “yellow” eels. Once the silver eel stage (35 cm to 100 cm long) has been reached, they complete their lifecycle by migrating downstream back to sea.


The Eels (England and Wales) Regulations 2009 (the Regulations) came into force on the 15th January 2010 to support the UK in implementing EC Council Regulation 1100/2007) (the EC Eel Regulation). This aims to increase numbers of adults and new generations of glass eels.

Eel Management Plans have been published for each River Basin District in England and Wales which aim to boost the European eel population.

Our clients

Those affected by the regulations include licensed abstractors of water and those in charge of land with a weir, dam, intake or outfall. Businesses have to comply with these regulations . “After 1 January 2015, it will become an offence not to have a screen on any such intake or outfall, unless we specifically issue notice to exempt the requirement.”


We can help with

  • Eel surveys and monitoring
  • Assessments and advice
  • Eel pass installations
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      Knowledge Hub Update in policy to help increase eel stocks