American Eel Population Not “Endangered”

Juvenile american eels. Photo/Wikimedia

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announced on Wed., Oct. 7, that the American eel population is stable and does not need protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Nonetheless, for the species’ long-term stability, the agency recommends continuing efforts to maintain healthy habitats, monitor harvest levels, and improve river passage for migrating eels.

Today’s decision follows an in-depth status review on a 2010 petition to list the eel as threatened under the ESA. The review was largely based on a biological species report peer-reviewed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-Fisheries, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Forest Service, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Eel Technical Committee and academia. After examining the best scientific and commercial information available regarding past, present and future stressors facing the species, the Service determined the eel’s single population is overall stable and not in danger of extinction (endangered) or likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future (threatened).

To learn more about the life cycle of the American eel, watch the following video on elvers.