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BUG undertaking PIT tagging study to monitor silver eel movement and escapement

As a result of an initial eel survey at the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust’s Slimbridge site during 2018, BUG is undertaking a longer-term tagging and tracking study over the next three years to monitor eel movement both within the site and silver eel escapement from the site.

Eels were captured using fyke nets and tagged using PIT tags to uniquely identify each individual as it is either recaptured or passes a permanently installed PIT tag reader on the main channel exiting the site.

Eel’s were captured using fyke nets from four ponds located throughout the WWT Slimbridge site

One of the large female eels captured and tagged during the first fyke netting exercise

The work on this critically endangered species even captured the attention of the national news, and was featured on BBC Breakfast LIVE, were WWT’s Emma Hutchins gave an overview of the work that we were undertaking before the crew got up close with some of the captured eels.

WWT’s Emma Hutchins discusses the PIT tagging project on BBC Breakfast Live

Two of the celebrity eels that made it onto live television!

A permanent PIT tag reader has been installed, with the antenna encompassing the main ditch that leaves the site. Over the next few years, this will record any of the tagged eels that manage to exit the ponds and leave the site to travel to their spawning grounds in the Sargasso Sea.

PIT tag reader installed to record silver eels leaving the WWT Slimbridge site

BUG’s Andy Harrison tuning the antenna and setting up the PIT tag reader


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