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Elver success in Somerset

Elver fisherman  


Somerset’s Elver fishermen (those blokes you see hanging around rivers with funny baskets) caught more than 1.2 million glass eels (or elvers) in one night on the River Parrett earlier this month.

Somerset’s fishermen were licensed by the Environment Agency and the elvers will be released beyond all the man-made obstructions on the River Parrett as part of the Sustainable Eel Group project.

The Environment Agency says that this year’s spring tides are carrying ten times the number of glass eels to the West Country than this time last year.

90% of the glass eels will die if they are left the wrong side of obstructions like weirs and sluices. They have to be able to make their way upriver in order to grow to maturity and return to the ocean to breed in the Sargasso Sea.

The numbers of elvers in the Parrett has dropped massively in recent years. Forty years ago they were so commonplace as to be virtually worthless but their market value had risen to over £200 per litre in early years of this millennium.

Elver passes installed by environmentalists and restrictions in elver fishing are having some effect on their recovery and a similar scheme is under way on the River Severn in Gloucestershire.



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