Dr Derek Evans from AFBI’s Fisheries & Aquatic Ecosystems Branch (FAEB) recently appeared on an episode of UTV’s highly successful series 'Lough Neagh' which takes UTV presenter Joe Mahon on a unique tour of Lough Neagh.
The work featured on the programme was a silver eel tagging run which FAEB carry out annually to assess the Lough Neagh fisheries compliance with the EU eel stock recovery regulation. These regulations stipulate that at least 40% of Lough Neagh silver eels must escape to sea for spawning.
AFBI's work on this particular aspect of eel biology has involved the largest eel tagging programme anywhere in the EU and, which will, by the end of this season, will have involved and the tagging off 10,000+ silver eels with the EU regulations since 2003. Demonstration of compliance has helped keep the eel fishery in Lough Neagh at its current operating levels (approx. 90 boats) whilst other EU eel fisheries have had to undergo cuts/reductions, in order to be compliant.
This research is demonstrative of how AFBI research directly supports the local agri-food industry.