Wednesday, February 10, 2010

R-eel-y good news for a change

For all the talk of the economy, of MP expenses, of defence cuts and Europe, there are other things happening in the world.

It is, for example, the International Year of Diversity, and a new measure has come into effect, whereby the Environment Agency can require eel passes and screens to be installed on all rivers and streams where barriers such as weirs or sluice gates prevent eels from moving upstream to grow or downstream to spawn.

Apparently, these measures are cheap, costing as little as £200, effective, and have already proved their value on the River Parrett in Somerset where, on the first night after installation of two passes, roughly 10,000 eels were seen to be queueing up to use them.

Why is this important? Well, given that the number of baby eels in British rivers has dropped by 95%, mirrored by dramatic falls in numbers across Europe, and that they provide food for otters, anything that improves the biodiversity of our rivers can only be a good thing.

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