The objective of the project is to substantiate the current knowledge on the eel reproduction and develop standardised protocols for controlled production of high quality gametes, viable eggs and feeding larvae of European eel (Anguilla anguilla). The primary bottlenecks in the control of reproduction of European eels in captivity concern deficiencies in knowledge and methodology to induce gametogenesis and produce viable eggs, embryos and larvae from captive broodstock in a regular and predictable way. The objectives therefore lead gradually from substantiating knowledge on hormonal control towards larval culture during the project.

The specific objectives of PRO-EEL include:

  • Acquire specific knowledge on hormonal control and physiology of reproduction in order to improve broodstock nutrition, selection and conditioning and to develop suitable methods for induction of maturation in female and male eels.
  • Develop and test new standardised protocols to facilitate stable production of high quality eggs and semen and establish standardised fertilisation procedures to ensure healthy embryonic development for a sustained production of yolksac larvae.
  • Develop suitable and environmentally friendly larval feeds and establish feeding cultures of larvae.

The establishment of larval cultures will not immediately lead to production of glass eels due to the long duration of the larval stage and the complex life cycle of eels. However, with the expertise of the project consortium and the expanding knowledge base, it is expected that first feeding and feeding cultures of larvae will be established. This will be a major breakthrough in European eel research and a very important and promising step towards a self-sustained aquaculture of European eel.

18 APRIL 2024