"Considering these points, I perceived that if the problem were to be solved in anything like a satisfactory manner it would be necessary to ascertain, not only where the youngest larvae were to be found, but also where they were not."

Johannes Schmidt, 1922.

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Welcome to the eeliad project

The eeliad research project was a four year EU-funded project (2008 to 2012) with the objective to improve the understanding of the marine ecology and biology of European eels. Field studies were undertaken to map and characterise their ocean migratory behaviour and the following points briefly summarise the project's achievements, which are explained more thoroughly on the eeliad project webpage. The research papers and news stories advertising the findings can be found on the news webpage.


  • More than 150 datasets: From over 500 electronic tags mapping migration more than 3000 km for periods of more than six months
  • A new, comprehensive EU database on silver eel quality and health
  • New tools for operationalisation within national eel management plans
  • 19 published research papers: With a predicted total of more than 50 papers within six years of the project


  • Daily patterns of behaviour have been recorded that appear to be related to anti-predator behavious, thermal regulation and navigation.
  • Eels were confirmed as a rare but classical example of a panmictic species. Climatic and oceanographic changes over the last 50 years did not appear to be responsible for the sharp decline in eel recruitment observed over tha last 30 years.
  • There are regional differences in parasite load, contaminant levels, fat content and breeding potential of silver eels relating to catchment characteristics and biogeography. At the catchment level, regional differences occur in stock status, spawner enhancement and anthropogenic mortality. line drawing of an eel