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Survival and growth of European eels stocked as glass- and farm-sourced eels in five lakes in the first years after stocking

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Abstract

European eels Anguilla anguilla stocked as wild-sourced glass eels showed a better overall performance of growth and survival compared with farm-sourced eels after stocking in five isolated lakes within a 7-year study period. Eels stocked as farm eels lost their initial size advantage over eels stocked as glass eels within 3–5 years after stocking. Population sizes estimated for consecutive stocking batches indicated that 8–17% of eels stocked as farm eels survived 3–6 years after stocking compared with 5–45% of eels stocked as glass eels. This study coupled with results of previous studies suggests that stocking of farm eels may have no advantage in growth and survival compared with stocking of glass eels if stocking occurs at an optimal time in spring. In addition, the use of relatively expensive farm eels may provide no general advantage over stocking of glass eels. However, if glass eels are only available for stocking purposes very early in the year, lower survival rates than obtained in the present study can be assumed and stocking with relatively more expensive farm eels could possibly be a better option.

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