EAStalk by Jonna Tomkiewicz on 'Closing the European eel life cycle: progress and persistent challenges developing eel hatchery technology'

Jonna Tomkiewicz EAS talkThe first EAStalk webinar in 2020 will be with Jonna Tomkiewicz on 'Closing the European eel life cycle: progress and persistent challenges developing eel hatchery technology’ on January 7th at 14:00h (GMT+1/Brussels time). 

Jonna Tomkiewicz is Coordinator of the Fish Biology Research Group at the Technical University of Denmark, National Institute of Aquatic Resources DTU Aqua and a moderator of the EAS Thematic Group on European Eel - development of breeding and hatchery technology. Her research focuses on developmental characteristics and physiological requirements of fish throughout their life history with core activities in fish reproduction and early life history. Since 2010 Jonna has been active in research and innovation projects to build industrial capacity to breed eels in captivity which include coordination of the EU project PRO-EEL and the follow-up project EEL-HATCH establishing a prototype eel hatchery in collaboration with aquaculture industry partners. She currently leads the research and innovation project “Improve technology and scale-up production of offspring for European eel aquaculture” (ITS-EEL).

Eels represent high value species in aquaculture which are well suited for on-growing culture applying efficient water recirculation technology. Yet there is pertinent need for development of hatchery technologies to replace the present capture-based production that relies on wild-caught glass eels. Accessibility of captive-bred glass eels to sustain a closed-cycle production would allow selective breeding and expand markets enabling growth in the sector while at the same time supporting management efforts to recover critically low eel stocks. However eels are particularly challenging to hatchery development due to their stage-structured life cycle that involves continental juvenile stages followed by diverse oceanic reproductive and larval stages. For hatchery production main obstacles include intricate hormonal control mechanisms that prevent sexual maturation during the continental phase and so in captivity as well as culture of the unusual leptocephalus larval stage that is unprecedented in aquaculture. Therefore establishment of hatchery technology involves filling gaps in knowledge related to their reproductive biology early life history ecology and physiological requirements.

Video is available under the members section/EAStalk webinar/video.