Chasing glass eels in Spain

Every year around Christmas, glass eels of the species Anguilla anguilla are recruited to the Spanish coastline. They are the subject of a recreational fishery in the Basque country. Caroline Durif went along with the fishers with a Norwegian author Torolf Kroglund and their host Estibaliz Diaz from AZTI tecnalia. Glass eel sampling was scheduled in the little town of Orio.

Illegal trafficking of glass eels is a major issue since CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna an Flora) forbids the export of Anguilla anguilla from the European Union. Glass eels in San Sebastian were selling at 630 euros per kg!

The group also visited one of the few companies that produce glass eels, which are bought in France and packaged for local consumption. The next days were spent visiting salmon and eel bypasses as well as at the AZTI Institute in Pasaia, where Caroline gave a talk on the magnetic orientation in eels.