The Glaven eel project – the elvers are running!

This year has seen the start of a Heritage Lottery funded eel project on the Glaven – a partnership between the Norfolk Rivers Trust, Norfolk Coast Partnership, River Glaven Conservation Group, Cefas, Environment Agency and UCL. The 2 year project will investigate the status of the eel in the Glaven to see how it is faring through adult eel and elver surveys. In addition it will collect stories regarding the eel and its history in the Glaven valley, whilst looking to enthuse and educate local children and people on a remarkable species with an amazing natural history. The eel has been in decline in the UK and all across Europe and the project will try and help it.

This mornings catch at Glandford Mill (photo courtesy of Willie Brownlow)
This mornings catch at Glandford Mill (photo courtesy of Willie Brownlow)

Last year we started an elver trap at Glandford Mill as a first attempt at understanding how well our eels are doing. We caught just a handful of eels however, and put this down to either a poor elver run, or difficulty of elvers getting through the tidal sluices at Cley.

Well this year the elvers are really doing it! In the last few days Willie Brownlow and Robin Combe have recorded over 40 elvers in the trap (all returned up-river of course!), with 19 recorded yesterday. Also, on the same day, Sarah Kemp saw elvers swimming up the Weybourne Spring Beck heading into the lower pond at Kelling Heath Holiday Park…its all happening!

Jonah and Emily at NRT and local fish lover Arnold Warsop (Sparsholt College) have been hunting for elvers in the lower Glaven and in the Blakeney Freshes. They have been finding lots of them…so we call to all of you – LOOK OUT FOR ELVERS! We would love to get information on any eel or elver sightings. Likely places to look for elvers are the little streams that flow through Kelling, Weybourne, Sheringham and Beeston Regis. Look for weirs and little obstructions that the elvers need to get over and you might find them. Please take a photograph and count how many you can see. They might be very small and see-through and hard to spot…but if you see some do let us know – c.sayer@ucl.ac.uk

We will keep you updated with developments in the Glaven eel world!

Carl Sayer

Robin Combe checks the elver trap at Glandford Mill. Robin used to catch eels by fyke netting in the past and came to love the eel. We are hoping that this year will see a bumper elver run.
Robin Combe checks the elver trap at Glandford Mill. Robin used to catch eels by fyke netting in the past and came to love the eel. We are hoping that this year will see a bumper elver run.
A tiny elver caught by the Glaven's epic eel hunter Jonah Tosney at Cley at the end of May. Jonah caught it by hand-net searching on the in-coming tide. The photo shows why very small elvers are called Glass Eels.
A tiny elver caught by the Glaven’s epic eel hunter Jonah Tosney at Cley at the end of May. Jonah caught it by hand-net searching on the in-coming tide. The photo shows why very small elvers are called Glass Eels.