There’s me told then

The mystery of eel migration which has puzzled ecologists since Aristotle is about to be solved, the Environment Agency has said as it announced plans to locate their origin.

The critically endangered species travel some 3,700 miles from Europe across the Atlantic Ocean to spawn – but where exactly remains completely unknown.

Researchers claim the eels spawn and die somewhere in the Sargasso Sea, a vast area off the east coast of the United States and north of the Caribbean.

So yes, I know about the migration, and elvers. Catch them in the rivers you do.

And yet I’ve always vaguely – for I’ve not tried very hard at this – thought that the elvers are coming downstream.


38 thoughts on “There’s me told then”

  1. I’m not sure why this is news – I remember reading about the Sargasso in one of those weekly education magazines my parents bought us as a kid. So at least 35 years ago.

  2. “Critically endangered”, eh? In Holland they electrofish eels out of the random little canals in vast quantities, smoke ’em and eat ’em. There’s specialised companies who do this.

  3. So the Environment Department has fixed all the environmental problems in the UK and can now afford to spend our money on worldwide projects?

  4. “Doesn’t everyone?”

    Not me. Mature eels come downstream. From wiki :

    “Many eels remain in the sea throughout their lives, but freshwater elvers of eels in the family Anguillidae travel upstream and are forced to climb up obstructions, such as weirs, dam walls, and natural waterfalls.”

  5. Delicacy here. Prices reach 600€ to €800/kilo at Christmas.

    They are served fried with garlic and chillies.

    At that price, the logical thing happened and an enterprising company made ‘copies’ out of mashed fish with the spine drawn with squid ink. At a couple of feet look just like the real thing, taste similar (garlic and chillies) if lacking a touch of the texture. Now loads of copies out there and we can all eat them.

    The problem is that the Japanese buy the real ones up (even at inflated prices) and grow them into full-blown eels (a comparatively massive thing) which are more to their taste and go for a good price there.

    That damn market again!

  6. There was a radio programme a few years ago about eels which was interesting. They spoke to biologists, gamekeepers, eel stallholders etc. One trend they spoke about was gangs of Asian poachers who fish elvers out of the streams and smuggle them home by the trunkload. Altogether there does not seem to be very much unknown about eels apart from how and where they reproduce

  7. Off topic but 7 Labour MPs have just resigned from the Labour party.

    It will be interesting to watch the attack dogs from the hard left in action.

  8. Andrew C
    Already getting their retaliation in first – Paul Mason was on Today rubbishing any breakaway movement and was given a fairly easy ride to spout his usual rubbish.
    Used the team Blairite as a put down quite liberally.

  9. “Delicacy here. Prices reach 600€ to €800/kilo at Christmas”

    Crikey bilbaoboy, do you live in an enclave of the Russian mafia there?

  10. Also off-topic, but before Ecksie names the breakaway seven pro-EU MP’s, may I suggest ‘The Supranational Socialists’ or ‘SS’ for short?

  11. “As an Independent Group we aim to recognise the value of healthy debate, show tolerance towards different opinions and seek to reach across outdated divides and build consensus to tackle Britain’s problems.”

    But if you disagree with us you’re a thick racist and should be made to vote again and again until you get it ‘right’.

  12. Bloke no Longer in Austria

    Travelling 3700 miles each year to spawn, no wonder they are endangered – poor things must be knackered.

    In the folksong Lord Rendal ( or Randal) the young lad is poisoned by eating eels that his sweetheart finds “in hedges and ditches, mother.”

  13. Not Asian poacher, Diogenes, just poachers.

    And why this bigoted focus on eel migration? They’re just migrants.

  14. ok OT but hysterical. Watching Filipino news at the moment and there’s some scandal because of a Spanish chocolate called ‘Filipino’ that is “Dark on the outside but white on the inside”.

    The wife just laughed at it.

    SJWs have infiltrated the third world.

  15. Also off-topic, but before Ecksie names the breakaway seven pro-EU MP’s

    Speaking of slithery migrating bottom feeders…

  16. If it’s the same as the one here in Portugal then it’s a choccie covered biscuit. Then of course there’s “Congoitos” which are choccie covered peanuts. Illustrated with a cheerful picanninie in loincloth.

  17. ‘about to be solved’

    Get back to us when it IS solved. Sciency speculation serves no purpose. Except maybe to raise grant money. Or to retrieve some value out of a failed project. Publish your speculation when failure looms.

    ‘The critically endangered species travel some 3,700 miles from Europe across the Atlantic Ocean to spawn – but where exactly remains completely unknown.’

    So you pulled 3,700 out of your arse?

    ‘critically endangered’

    So there are degrees of endangered? Is ‘critically’ worse or better than ‘endangered?’

    ‘puzzled ecologists’


    ‘Researchers claim’

    What discipline are ‘researchers?’

    ‘north of the Caribbean’

    Not really. Well, it is in the sense that Moscow is north of the Caribbean.

    I assume that Hammond is the Telegraph’s “science” reporter.

  18. BraveFart

    It’s the market. Supply is very restricted and the demand is sky-high for delicacies at Christmas. At 100 grams a person, I make do with the #fakeelvers.

    The only other thing heading that way is the very best top-grade Iberian ham. Leaves Parma ham in the dust but you need a bank loan to get a decent helping.

    The 5 euro bottles of good Rioja and the 12 Euros bottles of excellent Rioja make up for those prices. In fact Spain has a plethora of good to great wines between 5 and 15 euros. It is absolutely stunning. Only another 5 hours to go, slurp!

  19. WhenIwasbutalad we’d catch eels in the harbour and kill ’em by thrashing them on the quay. To what end? Because they made good bait for lobster pots, we told each other. But the nearest lobster fishery was forty miles away so we’d just chuck ’em back in.

    Small boys are barbarians. Barbarians with home-made fishing rods and terrible persistence.

  20. “And yet I’ve always vaguely – for I’ve not tried very hard at this – thought that the elvers are coming downstream.”

    Are you mixing them up with salmon? They lay their eggs upstream, so presumably young salmon swim downstream.

    Like others, I’d heard the Sargasso Sea thing years ago, so if I’d thought about it I wouldn’t have been surprised that elvers go upstream.

  21. o/t but the Murphy Richards twitter account has been suspended.

    I wonder if Ritchie found out who the writer was and complained to his employer and regulator?

  22. You got the energy for that?

    No. And besides, one must be a full strength to grapple with the sort of stupid Ritchie deals in.

  23. “Critically endangered” – Really?

    The Lough Neagh (Northern Ireland) Fishermen’s Co-operative has been amongst the fore runners of wild eel producers for decades and is recognised as the largest producer of wild caught eel in Europe, producing around 400 tonnes of eel annually.

    BBC Your Place And MineLough Neagh eel fishing

    First live eel I saw was slithering through long grass at Scout Camp in a field near Newcastle, NI

    Regularly ate eel (not jellied) in 70s & 80s – tasty, meaty texture.

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