Kingston University Biodiversity Action Group

16-03-16: Eels ahoy!

A Middle Mill Eel from 2015

We decided to try to get our eel training off the ground a little earlier this year to try to avoid the exam season at KU.

Our first eel training of 2016 was on Wednesday. Joe Pecorelli from the Zoological Society of London provided a great training session as usual. Taking us on a journey through the life cycle of the European Eel and explaining the work being undertaken to help this species in our rivers.
Not life sized :)
I always learn something new when I attend one of the eel training sessions.

I had remembered that baby eels are absolutely tiny when they cross the oceans from the Sargasso Sea to our rivers.

Starting off at at 1 cm long (see image above) and end up around 4.5 cm long by they time the reach the European Continental Shelf, that nearly 5000 km away from where they start!
Google maps weren't able to provide directions...but were able to allow me to measure the approximate distance to my estimate of the start of the continental shelf!

I hadn't realised that when they change to the silver eel stage (after around 10-30 years in our rivers) and start to return to their breeding grounds back in the Sargasso, they stop eating. That's nearly 6000 km on an empty stomach!!

As its a little early to start trapping eels, we undertook a simulated eel check, where we assessed the water levels to see if it would be safe to undertaking a check, followed by a demonstration at the eel shed on how you would check the trap for eels.
Explaining the best way to check the trap
We have one more training session on the 11th of May from 2-4pm at Knights Park and Middle Mill. 
If you would like to attend, please email me at This will be your last chance to get trained for the 2016 monitoring season which will be starting in Mid April. 

Some of the team from the first training session

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