Let’s Not Shatter the Glass Eel

August 7, 2013

With relentless fishing, dams, habitat loss, and pollution threatening their populations, American eels need our help. Dr. Merry Camhi, director of the New York Seascape Program at WCS’s New York Aquarium, and Dr. John Waldman, Professor of Biology at Queens College, describe these mysterious fishes and a unique window of opportunity to help save them.

With the exception of sushi aficionados devouring unagi in rolls of avocado, rice, and a dab of wasabi, American eels do not get a lot of love today. Once a dietary mainstay of native peoples and early colonists, these nutritious animals have been devastated over the centuries by growing fishing pressure and the construction of dams along rivers where they once swam in abundance.

Although a petition to add the American eel to the U.S. endangered species list was denied in 2007, a second petition will be considered in 2015. In the meantime, fishery managers can take critical steps to secure a better future for what many consider the most mysterious fish in the sea.