Eel tagging campaign @ EOS Wetenschap

Monday, December 23, 2019

Last week Kim Verhaeghe from EOS Wetenschap joined on an eel tagging campaign with MarBiol reseacrher Pieterjan Verhelst and made a short movie, which is distributed over social media (the movie is in dutch).

The life cycle of the European eel remains for a large part shrouded in mystery. To date, the exact spawning location remains to be located, but are probably situated in the Sargasso Sea, 7000 km from Belgium. Further, it is unknown how the eels migrate at sea, for instance which routes they take, what currents they follow and how. To tackle this knowledge gap, Ghent University, the Flanders Marine Institute and the Research Institute for Nature and Forest started tagging seaward migrating eels with the pop off data storage tags. The tags measure water temperature and depth and pop-off after a preprogrammed time (6 months). Thereafter, they wash ashore, can be found by beachcombers, strollers, fishermen etc. and brought back to the scientist (after which the finder gets a €50 reward). Based on the obtained data, the eel’s trajectory can be reconstructed, revealing completely new insights in the marine migration behaviour of the European eel.