• The European eel fishery in 1993 and 1994

      Moriarty, C. (Marine Institute, 1996)
      A group of 17 experts, representing 9 member states of the EU, undertook in March 1995 the Concerted Action AIR A94-1939 entitled Enhancement of the European eel fishery and conservation of the species. This paper presents the results of the first phase of the study which aimed to compile a database of information on the eel in the 9 states. The total annual yield of European eel was estimated to lie between 20,000 t and 30,000 t. Glass eels account for 4% of the total by weight and 33% by value. The value of the catch as paid to the fisherman was estimated at 180 M ECU and with value added as 375 M ECU. Manpower engaged fulltime in eel fishing was relatively low, fewer than 500 individuals. Numbers engaged part-time totalled at least 25,000. Although rarely providing the mainstay of a fishing community, the eel made a sociological contribution out of all proportion to its cash value. Yields greater than 5 kg per hectare were attained in a variety of habitats throughout the region. The highest yields per hectare recorded were 324 kg in one Italian coastal lagoon, 75 kg in another, 52 kg in a French Mediterranean lagoon and 40 kg in a Norwegian river and lake system. The yield from most fisheries was less than 5 kg per ha. This implied that proper management could greatly increase yields throughout the geographical range of the species. Between 2 and 3 billion young eels were captured annually, of which more than 95% were killed for consumption at that young stage, while less than 5% were harvested at later stages or left to contribute to the breeding stock. The implication was that adequate glass eels existed for a greatly enhanced stocking programme. Many eel fisheries had declined in the course of the previous twenty years, the principal factors appearing to be recruitment failure and inadequate management measures. Eel fishing can be undertaken with a low capital investment and provides important opportunities for work in communities where unemployment is high.
    • A population study of the eel Anguilla anguilla in Meelick Bay, Lough Derg

      Moriarty, C. (Department of Fisheries and Forestry, 1983)
      Monthly samples totalling 1,945 yellow eels were caught by fyke net in a small bay, area 100 hectares, of a large lake in 1981 and 1982. Catch per unit effort figures showed that population density varied between months and between specific areas of the bay. Most of the eels sampled (80%) measured between 34 cm and 54 cm. Ages of a sample of 168 specimens taken in 1979 ranged from 7 to 17 years, 80% from 8 to 13 years. Length frequencies were constant throughout the bay within months but showed changes between months. Recapture rate of 1,660 eels tagged was extremely low at 1.14%. The results showed that (1) when eel population density is being compared between years, it is necessary to define exactly the positions where sampling takes place and (2) the eel population in this bay was not resident but appeared to be undergoing constant change throughout the warm months of the year.
    • Strategy for the development of the eel fishery in Ireland

      Moriarty, C. (Marine Institute, 1999)
      In the course of a reply to a Parliamentary Question on eel in February 1997, the Minister stated that ‘there is considerable potential for development of the fishery and an integrated development strategy plan is being formulated’. The Marine Institute and other bodies were asked by the Department of the Marine to prepare a submission. The material which follows is based on the author’s work as a biologist, first in the fisheries service of the Government and, subsequently in the Marine Institute.