Eel population in the Hudson River on the rise
An annual eel count at the Sarah Lawrence College Center for the Urban River (CURB) in Yonkers is underway with record-breaking catches.
Volunteers have counted 2,697 eels this season, which runs from February to May.
The highest count for a single season since the project started nine years ago was in 2019, with 2,782 eels counted.
"We've been getting record catches,” said Jason Muller, outreach coordinator at the Sarah Lawrence College Center for the Urban River. “A couple weeks ago we actually had our single day record, which was about 750 eels.”
Four times a week a team wades into the Hudson River to check a net for glass eels.
On Thursday the team counted 39 eels.
The high eel count is a sign that the water quality in the Hudson River is improving.
"They are an indicator species and they tell us a lot about the health of the Hudson river," said Muller.
Eel populations declined sharply in the 1990s but have seen huge increases due to regulations limiting the harvesting of glass eels during their migration through the ocean, and because of more awareness of the fish.
"I think an important part of this project is just getting the word out about the importance of eels,” said Muller.
CURB is one of 15 sites along the Hudson River watershed that collects data on eels.
Anyone can volunteer to count eels, but you must be at least 16 years old or older to participate.
For more information, or to sign up, email Outreach Coordinator Jason Muller at email@example.com.
Story and reporting by Nadia Galindo.