The PRO-EEL project aims at breeding European eel (Anguilla anguilla) in captivity. Reproduction of eel in culture has become a focus research area due a severe decline of natural stocks and an increasing interest to breed eels for a self-sustained aquaculture. PRO-EEL is an international research project supported financially by the European Commission.
The objective of the project is to expand the current knowledge on the eel reproduction and develop standardized protocols for production of high quality gametes (egg and sperm), viable embryos and feeding larvae of European eel. Methodology and technology will be established using small scale tests and validation in full scale experiments.
Focus is on the primary bottlenecks in a controlled reproduction of eels, which concern deficiencies in knowledge about their reproductive physiology and treatments applied to induce and finalise gamete development. New methods are needed for a production of viable eggs and larvae from broodstock in a regular and predictable way. Further challenges include identification of suitable larval rearing conditions and initial feed in order to establish feeding cultures of European eel larvae.