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Saving future of eel through research

Published by FiskerForum, 08-07-2010 · info@fiskerforum.dk

European scientists have done important research on reproduction of eel in captivity to save the stocks of the species.

Severe decline in the natural stocks of eel compelled the leading scientists from European research institutes and the aquaculture industry to reproduce the European eel in captivity. The result is a €5 million research project: PRO-EEL, coordinated by DTU and supported financially by the European Commission.According to the scientists in the wild, the European eel migrate to the Sargasso Sea to spawn. They do not reproduce in our waters due to a hormonal inhibition of maturation. In the PRO-EEL project the eels therefore receive hormonal treatment to develop gametes and fertilization is made in vitro. They said that the main aim of this project is to expand the current knowledge on European eel reproduction and develop methods for successful maturation and production of offspring. The long term perspective of this research – and an indicated goal of the European Commission – is to establish a self-sustained aquaculture of eels in Europe. Coordinator of the project, Jonna Tomkiewicz from DTU Aqua - National Institute of Aquatic Resource, Technical University of Denmark, said that the primary bottleneck in a controlled reproduction of eels concerns deficiencies in knowledge about their reproductive physiology and methods applied to induce and finalize gamete development.The researcher will apply gene technology that will help obtain a regular and predictable production of viable eggs and larvae from broodstock eels offered enhanced diets. Further challenges include the identification of suitable larval rearing conditions and initial feed for the larvae. The PRO-EEL project builds on the cutting edge results of the consortium – including the recent results of a series of DTU coordinated research projects that succeeded in producing larvae of the European eel that survived up to 21 days.

Source: TheFishSite News Desk

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