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Thousands of eels are being released into the North's lakes and rivers...

… Good?

'Glass eels'
'Glass eels'
Image: AP/Press Association Images

SCIENTISTS ARE RELEASING thousands of eels into the River Lagan system in Northern Ireland, in a bid to boost the number of the species present.

According to the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, an experimental stocking exercise has already been carried out using glass eels (young eels) sourced from the River Severn.

The project was and paid for by the Lough Neagh Fisherman’s Co-operative Society, owners of the largest wild eel fishery in Europe.

“The objective of this experiment is to stock the Lagan and its lakes to capacity with eel in a single -year event in 2014,” Dr Derek Evans of the Fisheries and Aquatic Ecosystems Branch at AFBI said.

As eel recruitment across Europe has been declining steadily for over 30 years, this project represents an excellent opportunity to track the contribution of this batch of eels to the European spawning stock in a long-term experiment.

Eel Researchers introduce glass eels into Hillsborough Lake Source: Cliff Mason

Some of the eels have been marked so that their performance can be tracked, potentially over the next 20 years, throughout the river system.

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The Northern Ireland Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure funds a programme of eel research in AFBI, according to the Institute.

Read: Spa treatment leaves man with eel in his… urethra

About the author:

Daragh Brophy

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