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  The European eel (anguilla anguilla) is the only catadromous species of migratory fish in our waterways. That is to say that it spawns in the sea, and migrates upriver to reach adulthood. Its spawning grounds are probably in or near the Sargasso Sea in the Atlantic Ocean. After the eel larve have been carried by the Gulf Stream for several years, the young fish – now known as glass eels, and measuring over 10 cm in length – reach the estuaries of Europe and migrate upriver. They continue to grow in the rivers for several years, and are now referred to as yellow eels. Having reached a length of some 60 to 100 cm, the eels are soon sexually mature and turn into ‘silver eels’. In this form they start their migration to the sea in the autumn, to visit their spawning grounds. With its highly complex lifecycle and enormously sensitive senses, the eel is still a fascinating species about which science has much to discover. The current situation in Europe makes the eel an endangered species. This calls for speedy action and concerted cooperation on the part of all Nature-lovers who care for fish. All partners in this endeavour would do well to make an active contribution to the continuance of this unique species today, before it is too late.

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