Uphill struggle for eels
The problem of dwindling eel populations calls for clever solutions to combat migration barriers such as weirs on rivers.
The Canal & River Trust has joined forces with the Environment Agency and the Sustained Eel Group in a project at Hazelford Weir on the River Trent, between Nottingham and Newark. Using redundant boat ramps to carry a boxed channel, the scheme will allow baby European eels to swim in a trickle feed of water, and ascend using a bottom surface which provides traction.
It is part of a huge programme of work which is underway across Europe to help bolster eel populations by restoring wetlands and removing barriers to the eels’ migration routes. The eel pass at Hazelford is the first of many to come to help eels migrate into and fully populate the Trent, the second longest river in England.
As part of this project, Totnes-based Fishtek has also prepared designs for eel passes on nearby Stoke Bardolph and Gunthorpe weirs, also on the Trent.
The European Eel, once thriving across Europe and the UK, is currently classified as ‘critically endangered’ as their numbers have declined by about 90 percent over the past 40 years.