The LIFEEL Project

Urgent measures in the Eastern Mediterranean for the long term conservation of endangered European eel (Anguilla anguilla)

LIFEEL is the first conservation project for the species conceived at the entire Po River basin scale. With the goal to increase and maintain the wild population of Anguilla anguilla, it faces the main threats to its survival, such as fragmentation of the range, fishing pressure (on breeders for human consumption and on juveniles for aquaculture) and disinformation. It relies on a shared and participative approach, and some extremely innovative other aspects.

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Project objectives

LIFEEL’s overall objective is to support the biodiversity heritage of the Po River basin through the conservation of one of the most emblematic species for the Po River basin and and the National Park of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace: the European eel. The project-specific objectives are operational objectives, designed in response to specific threats.

Reopening of migration routes for eel

The reopening of migration routes for eel and the consequent recovery of its range in the inland waters which are still suitable for the species. This will tackle both the environmental threat of fragmentation of the inland range and the climate change impacts.

Protection of the adult specimens

The protection of the adult specimens (as potential wild breeders) from professional fishing pressure or use in aquaculture, favouring the natural reproduction.

Support to the survival of juveniles

The support to the survival of juveniles, opposed to the fishing recruitment for aquaculture purposes.

Raising public and stakeholder awareness

Raising public and stakeholder awareness, to counter active, passive or potential actions undertaken due to lack of information.

Project objectives

LIFEEL’s overall objective is to support the biodiversity heritage of the Po River basin through the conservation of one of the most emblematic species for the Po River basin and and the National Park of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace: the European eel. The project-specific objectives are operational objectives, designed in response to specific threats.

Reopening of migration routes for eel

The reopening of migration routes for eel and the consequent recovery of its range in the inland waters which are still suitable for the species. This will tackle both the environmental threat of fragmentation of the inland range and the climate change impacts.

Protection of the adult specimens

The protection of the adult specimens (as potential wild breeders) from professional fishing pressure or use in aquaculture, favouring the natural reproduction.

Support to the survival of juveniles

The support to the survival of juveniles, opposed to the fishing recruitment for aquaculture purposes.

Raising public and stakeholder awareness

Raising public and stakeholder awareness, to counter active, passive or potential actions undertaken due to lack of information.

Read the news!

LIFEEL back at the university with Ticino Park

26 May 2022|0 Comments

Yesterday, May the 25th, the Technicians of the Fauna Sector of Lombardy Ticino Park, project partner, took advantage of the meeting with the students of the Master Degree Course in Natural Sciences of the [...]

European eel: studying it is saving it!

26 May 2022|0 Comments

In this video interview, presented at the annual meeting of the Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy Platform, Oliviero Mordenti explains one of the strategies adopted by LIFEEL for the conservation of this [...]

The fourth LIFEEL Newsletter is online!

22 April 2022|0 Comments

In this fourth newsletter we present an in-depth study on the activities carried out in Italy by LIFEEL to support the natural spawning of the European eel and we talk about one of the [...]

Project area

LIFEEL will take place in two well-defined geographical areas: in Italy it will cover the area of the Po River basin (with particular reference to the plain and hilly area) and the Po Delta. Concrete interventions directed on the environment and the species will take place on the Rivers Tresa, Ticino, Panaro, Po, and in the areas of the Po Delta and the Comacchio Valleys. Here the project will involve three administrative regions – Lombardia, Veneto and Emilia-Romagna – and also the Swiss portion of the Po basin, extended in the Canton Ticino, also being able to count on the financial support of the Cantone for the entire project. The second area involved is located in Greece: here the project will focus on the territory of the National Park of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, including the Nesto River basin and a lagoon system that represents more than 24% of the lagoons present in Greece. Concrete conservation actions will concern the Nesto River and the lagoons.

Italy

Greece

A protocol for everyone: you too contribute to the conservation of eel!

Anyone can use the protocol and contribute to the release into the wild of the most promising breeders, thus contributing to the long-term conservation of the species. The protocol allows, through the input of only two morphometric parameters (total length of the specimen and diameter of the eye) the utility specifically created for this purpose permits to characterize eels according to 3 different stages: resident eels (not migrants), fully migrating eels (100%) and eels with a degree of migration exceeding 90%. No password is required to use this tool!

Please, follow the instructions from the video and download the protocol!

Video tutorial
Tool for the indentification of the stage of maturation of the eel

LIFE Programme

The LIFEEL Project is funded by the European Union’s LIFE Programme funding instrument