Elvers released into waters close to the River Severn


A vast stock of elvers have been released into waters close to the River Severn. Marking the end of the elver fishing season along the river, one white box filled with the small but sleek creatures were emptied into the Westbury Brook at Westbury-on-Severn, as part of a rewilding conservation project.

The young eels often become stuck in our rivers, as they cannot be exported abroad and man made barriers mean they are unable to migrate to breeding hotspots, such as the Sargasso Sea. Elver populations arriving in the UK have decreased but this activity offers but as fisherman Matt Hart explains things are improving for the tradition he and other fishermen along the Severn know very well.

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"By releasing the elvers into the brook it will be encouraging to see the eels prosper," Matt said. "In my view this is one of the greatest parts of the natural world because they migrate four and a half thousand miles away and they are a big part of the Severn's life cycle."

Matt releasing the elvers into Westbury Brook
Matt releasing the elvers into Westbury Brook -Credit:Will Luker

The eels are also important for the ecosystem Gloucestershire is lucky to have on its doorstep because "eels are a keystone species where other species whether that's aquatic or terrestrial rely on their seasonal influx of food, Matt adds. For me the reason why I love doing this is because human intervention has seen elvers swim thousands of miles to be greeted by barriers, so making sure they're healthy and protecting elvers is something I and others have always been fascinated by."