‘Marine snow’ could herald breakthrough in race to save eels

Eel (Photo credit: rach2k)

Elver numbers are now at 5% of their levels in the 1980s

Scientists create a mixture of detritus and waste matter, which is hoped will reproduce larvae’s natural diet

Marine biologists are racing to solve a unique problem which is crucial to their efforts to save the world’s wild eel populations from catastrophic collapse: recreating a food called “marine snow“.

In one of the least-understood global conservation crises, spawning rates for the world’s three major eel populations have crashed in the last three decades by as much as 99%, raising fears they could become extinct across the far east, Europe and north America.

Biologists in Japan, where eels are an iconic part of the country’s cuisine and culture, are on the brink of farming eels from birth to fork on an industrial scale for the first time, potentially in the same way as salmon is farmed worldwide.

That breakthrough – being sought too by scientists in Korea and the United States – could dramatically relieve pressure on wild eel populations, and greatly increase the prospects of rebuilding their stocks worldwide.

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via The Guardian – 

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