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  #1  
Old 03-04-2005, 05:49 PM
pclaus01 pclaus01 is offline
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Unhappy Enjoy fishing eels - while it lasts

My bet is that in 10 years we'll be reminiscing about the good old days when you could buy and fish live eels. Seems like the numerous reasons are all very obvious. The question is whether anyone will try to prevent the inevitable from happening?

yahoo news article on glass eels
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  #2  
Old 03-04-2005, 09:34 PM
north coast north coast is offline
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eels

Be very surprised if they last 10 years. I'm thinkin' 2-4 without some help.
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  #3  
Old 03-04-2005, 09:53 PM
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Unhappy

It's a well kept dirty secret, but "glass eel" poachers were driving down from as far as downeast Maine to net the tiny elvers in our local herring runs. A few years back, several guys from Maine were arrested netting elvers in Falmouth and Bourne. In their possesion were several pounds of live "glass eels" in a live well in the back of their pickup truck.

I've personally worked on restoring a couple herring runs here in town, and can verify the presense of the glass eels.

But, IMHO I think we can also blame ourselves. Just as with our river herring, our insatiable hunger for bait size eels as bass bait is as damaging as the elver poachers. I'm certain that if we keep using eels as bait, we'll only hasten their demise.
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  #4  
Old 03-05-2005, 08:21 AM
timw timw is offline
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We are trying. Here is our petition to have the American Eel listed under the endangered species act http://www.glooskapandthefrog.org/ESA%20petition.htm
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  #5  
Old 03-05-2005, 08:52 AM
pclaus01 pclaus01 is offline
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Thanks Tim. I'd be interested in hearing about updates on this topic.

I'm concerned about preserving the stocks of eels, menhaden, herring, mackeral, squid, and other 'baitfish' so that our gamefish have adequate food sources to sustain their populations. Thus, I personally choose not to fish with eels or herring, I won't use menhaden oil as an attractant, nor do I eat these fish.

My actions won't change those species' fate, but I fish with the knowledge that I'm not contributing to the baitfish problem. I'd rather catch a 30" bass on a handmade teaser or plug than a 45" on a live eel. But everyone's free to make their own choice, at least until those in government who are entrusted to protect these species act.
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Old 03-05-2005, 09:59 AM
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A voice ctying in the wilderness!

Kudos for your post Tim! A way back on another venue, I raised my voice in opposition to the flagrant assault on eels, many brave voices told me to mind my own effen business.
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  #7  
Old 03-05-2005, 12:51 PM
TonyO TonyO is offline
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Just a couple of questions from someone who uses at least 200 eels a year. Don't want to stir things up or get bashed, just opinions or facts.
1. Eel farming- it is my understanding that a lot of bait eels are farmed(New Foundland I believe) are they taking that into factor?
2. I may sound stupid for this, but how can a farmed animal be considered endangered?
I have actually found maybe only a half dozen eels total in all of the fish that I've cleaned.
Thoughts please......ps I don't only fish eels.
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Old 03-05-2005, 01:23 PM
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Farming vs. Wild

Much the same situation exists with stripers. You've got people farming them, who are allowed to sell them, where as commercially caught stripers are subject to a whole different set of rules. I'd expect eels to be handled in a similar fashion.
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Old 03-05-2005, 01:57 PM
pclaus01 pclaus01 is offline
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Any answer to TonyO?

That's a good question TonyO asks. My understanding was that the eels had to spawn in the Saragasso sea and float around in the ocean for awhile. And I think I read somewhere that the number of years it takes for eels to grow makes them less attractive to farm. But I think it'd be great if we could get farm-raised eels - I'd rethink my position.

On a related note, I'm looking forward to the farm-raised, big, fat seaworms being available this year or next. I don't want to cut out the guys who have been out there digging them for a living, but I get tired of the puny, half-dead worms I can get from the local shops.
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Old 03-05-2005, 03:44 PM
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Eels are farmed in many places, however, unlike trout and salmon which can be raised in a hatchery from eggs, all eels raised in captivity are taken from the wild. All American eels are born in the Sargasso Sea. As of yet no one has been able to take a mommy and daddy eel into captivity and make baby eels. In fact from what I have read no one has ever even seen eels in the act of spawning.

It is really amazing that in 2005 we know so little about a creature that is so common and wide spread.

To put in perspective what the American Eel faces consider the following.

If the coast wide rec limit on striped bass was 6" minimum 50 fish per day, if the coast wide comm limit was 6" as many as you can catch, how many striped bass would we have today?

If there had been a unregulated coast wide young of the year striper fishery for several years, and if these fish fetched better than one hundred dollars a pound at market, how many stripers would we have today?

If striped bass lost access to 80 % percent of their historic range and habitat, how many would we have today?

If a significant portion of adult female stripers migrating to their spawning grounds were diced up in hydro dam turbines every fall how many would we have today?

If all of the above mortality to striped bass was pre spawn (American eels only spawn once and die), how many would we have today?

The American eel faces all of the above. Pick any diadromous or inshore species, how many would we have today if they had to run the above gauntlet?

What’s scary about the former coastwide elver fishery is we may not see the effects of it for several more years. Eels do not reach sexual maturity until about seven years old and many of the females will not come out of their freshwater habitat to spawn for forty years or more. The impact of the former elver fishery may kick in on top of the current population decline. The only surprising thing about the American eel is that there are still any at all.
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  #11  
Old 03-05-2005, 04:28 PM
TonyO TonyO is offline
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Very informative timw, thanks.
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  #12  
Old 03-06-2005, 09:30 AM
mermaid mermaid is offline
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My grandfather just turned over in his grave:(

My grandparents lived in Three Rivers, where my grandfather walked down to the river, launched his boat, caught the then bountiful eels, then walked back
home with dinner.
Tim's petition to the USFWS states that: "at the Conn. R. (the largest watershed in NE) NO provision for safe passage of migrating female eels is privided".
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  #13  
Old 03-07-2005, 09:50 AM
ChuckD ChuckD is offline
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Conservation of eels

I have noticed the decline in eels where I used to catch them in the Essex River. Now there are few to none. Perhaps it has been a place where these poachers have been netting. Aside from the farming for sale to fishermen, I also have heard that the Japanese will pay top dollar for these live baby eels(elvers(juvenile) or glass eels(just born)) which they then grow into one of my favorite sushis-unagi(barbequed eel).
I support these efforts to protect the American eel which is truly a unique and fascinating creature. I studied them in Fisheries Biology class and they are truly a valuable piece of genetic diversity in the aquatic world. They are one of the few catadromous(spawn in salt, spend most of life in freshwater) species. TimW's proposal outlines many of these amazing characteristics. The fact that they cannot be raised in captivity and that their spawing has never been documented(my guess is the Sargasso would be tough to navigate in) lends even more allure to their unque existence.
While I used to enjoy fishing live eels, I have stopped it and would like to see a recovery in their numbers so that I might be able have my eventual kids(if I am so lucky) fish them as I did growing up.
Like most species on the brink of extinction(and I am not saying eels are there yet but they very well could be headed that way), we should take action before it is too late.

Last edited by ChuckD; 03-07-2005 at 10:09 AM.. Reason: added stuff
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Old 03-07-2005, 11:46 AM
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What if we bought live eels from various bait shops and released them back into freshwater ponds. Perhaps some of you eel fanatics could release a percentage of your bait. Once in the ponds the eels stand a better chance of reaching maturity and get a crack at spawning.
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  #15  
Old 03-07-2005, 03:45 PM
timw timw is offline
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Thats a good idea, for every dozen we use for bait we put six in a pond. Us eel fanatics could even take it one step further by paying eel fisherman to put more pots out thereby increasing the catch from the wild so we could really fill up the ponds.

That solves that problem, will call Secretary Norton in the morning and have her disregard the petition.
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