WHAT IS THAT?

Do slimy water creatures freak you out, or do you find them fascinating? Maybe a little bit of both? Well, just because things might seem a little slimy or scary to us, is no reason to hurt them. We simply need to educate ourselves. (That's the very reason I don't kill spiders even though they freak me out). This Atlantic-born creature finds its home in our Minnesota waters but may soon be on the endangered species list. If you accidentally catch one, you should try to handle it carefully, and release it back into the water.

ENDANGERED SPECIES?

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says the American Eel is a migratory fish born in the Atlantic Ocean. These Eels are nocturnal, and they hang out in rocky areas, so it's very possible that you could snag one while fishing. The DNR filed to have this creature put on the endangered species list, but at the time, the eel didn't meet all of the criteria. Still, we need to be aware of what to do if we run across one.

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ABOUT THE AMERICAN EEL

The American Eel migrates from freshwater to saltwater to spawn. Minnesota's American Eel population is mostly females because the males spend their lives living in streams along the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Coast. When the eggs hatch, they transform into flat and transparent larvae that ride ocean currents into the Gulf of Mexico.

WHAT'S HAPPENING

There are many reasons for the American Eel's decline. Dams, commercial harvest, parasites, pollution, accumulation of PCBs, and hydro-power development. The decline may be attributed to climatic change as well, which may be detrimental to the larval stage of the species' life cycle, reducing their food supply.

IF YOU CATCH ONE...

So if you catch one, don't panic. It's an important fish, it's NOT an invasive species, and even though it looks scary, it is not. You won't be electrocuted by this eel.

You can learn more about the American Eel by clicking HERE.

 

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