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Variability in growth rate in European eel Anguilla anguilla in a western Irish catchment

Variability in growth rate in European eel Anguilla anguilla in a western Irish catchment

Biology & Environment 98B(3): 141-145

The length, age and growth rate of female silver eels trapped in the Burrishoole system, western Ireland, were investigated in 1987 and 1988. Length ranged from 40cm to 100cm, and age from 8 to 57 years. Of the total sample of 8612 eels measured, 0.7% were larger than 62cm: 0.6% in 1987 and 0.7% in 1988. Annual growth rates were generally faster for the larger eels (> 62cm). The growth curve for eels ltoreq 62cm decreased annually, approaching an Linfin of 99.9cm, and the curve for eels > 62cm was almost linear over the entire period of growth. This study has shown that eels of exceptional size regularly reach the mature silver stage and migrate, even at ages as great as 57 years.

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