European eel

Common Name: European eel

Scientific Name: *Anguilla anguilla

Description: European eel (Anguilla anguilla) life history is complex and unusual. It spawns in the eastern part of the Sargasso Sea so the distribution of eels on their spawning migration extends all the way from northern Europe across the Atlantic Ocean and down to the Sargasso Sea. The newly hatched larvae drift with the Gulf Stream and the North Atlantic Current to the continental shelf of Europe where they metamorphose into glass eels that enter continental waters at an age of approximately 1-2 years. Glass eels then settle in estuaries or migrate further up in the river basin before they become yellow eels settling for 2-25 years (or even 50 years) prior to maturation and metamorphosis to the silver eel stage.

OSPAR Regions where it occurs: I, II, III, IV

OSPAR Regions where under threat and/or in decline: I, II, III, IV

What is the latest status of the feature?

The status assessment describes the latest changes in distribution, abundance and range of the feature, as well as any changes in the threats and pressures impacting the feature. The status assessments are updated regularly and inform OSPAR’s consideration of the effectiveness of the measures and actions that have been adopted and implemented by Contracting Parties.

Why is this feature included on the OSPAR List?

What protective measures and actions has OSPAR committed to taking?

What actions have been implemented by OSPAR?