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Mapping silver eel migration routes in the North Sea
Verhelst, P.; Reubens, J.; Coeck, J.; Moens, T.; Simon, J.; Van Wichelen, J.; Westerberg, H.; Wysujack, K.; Righton, D. (2022). Mapping silver eel migration routes in the North Sea. NPG Scientific Reports 12(1): 318.
In: Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group). Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 2045-2322; e-ISSN 2045-2322, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Moens, T., more
  • Simon, J.
  • Van Wichelen, J., more
  • Westerberg, H.
  • Wysujack, K.
  • Righton, D.

    Recent developments in tracking technology resulted in the mapping of various marine spawning migration routes of the European eel (Anguilla anguilla). However, migration routes in the North Sea have rarely been studied, despite many large European rivers and hence potential eel growing habitat discharge into the North Sea. In this study, we present the most comprehensive map to date with migration routes by silver European eels in the North Sea and document for the first time successful eel migration through the English Channel. Migration tracks were reconstructed for 42 eels tagged in Belgium and 12 in Germany. Additionally, some eels moved up north to exit the North Sea over the British Isles, confirming the existence of two different routes, even for eels exiting from a single river catchment. Furthermore, we observed a wide range in migration speeds (6.8–45.2 km day−1). We hypothesize that these are likely attributed to water currents, with eels migrating through the English Channel being significantly faster than eels migrating northward.

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