Saving our Eels – with the help of Cynon Valley Museum……..
European Eels were once commonplace in our waterways. However, like many other animal species, their numbers have shown a catastrophic decline in the last ten to fifteen years. They are now something of a rarity. In the UK, the “Sustainable Eel Group” works towards halting this decline. Its work covers the whole gamut of factors including the influences of science, environment, industry and commerce. Our Trust was encouraged, two years ago, by the Sustainable Eel Group, to run “Elver in the Classroom” projects (detailed elsewhere here) to help to bring knowledge of the Eel, and its plight, into the mainstream.
School children and schools’ staff have embraced the projects with great enthusiasm and now in their third year we have been additionally provided with much appreciated support from Cynon Valley Museum in Aberdare. Along with other contributors, the Museum has enabled an exhibition where we have installed an aquarium, complete with Eels and other exhibits.The Eels are on display in the entrance foyer, and the “Cwtch” area in the Museum has a poster display giving further up to date information about Eels.
Here in Wales a number of Welsh Assembly Members have become Champions for Endangered Species. We are fortunate and grateful that Dawn Bowden, AM for Merthyr and Rhymney has agreed to Champion the European Eel. Dawn was present for the launch of the exhibits at the Museum in Aberdare.
Like many things, the exact causes of Eel decline are not known and many theories abound. For example, diseases are are recognized as an important cause of losses and decreased production rates in freshwater eel farming. Consequently they have been suggested to play a contributory role in the worldwide decline in wild freshwater Eel stocks. This is the sort of statement we have become used to especially when it is mankind who is the root cause as it is in most cases of species decline.
We could carry on giving you details of the Eel and its life cycle but we strongly encourage all to visit the Museum to look at and find out more about this amazing Houdini of the Fish world. It really is as it gets to places where you would not dream of finding them.