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Somerset’s flood defences threaten eel survival

Somerset Elvers  


The increase in flood defences and sluices on Somerset’s tidal rivers have made it even more difficult for our endangered glass eel population to survive.

Elvers need to be able to pass flood defences if they are to progress to the non-tidal parts of Somerset’s rivers like the Parrett where they can grow until they are large enough to return to the ocean to breed in the Sargasso Sea.

90% of the glass eels will die if they are left the wrong side of obstructions like weirs and sluices.

Somerset’s Elver fishermen are currently 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.

60% of their catch is sent to restock rivers in Europe where the population is even lower than here.

The Enviroment Agency is attaching large plastic rings to sluice gates on the River Parrett which will slow the closing of the gate and allow a higher proportion of the elvers, which ride the head of the tide up the river, to pass through the obstruction.



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