What are the Eels Regulations?

With regard to eel management in the UK (and specifically England and Wales), there are two key pieces of relevant legislation:

  • Implementation of the EC Eel Regulation in England and Wales has been facilitated by the introduction of The Eels (England and Wales) Regulations 2009 (the ‘Eels Regulations’). The Eels Regulations, often incorrectly referred to as the Eel Regulations, is a Statutory Instrument (2009 No. 3344) which came into force on 15th January 2010. The Eels Regulations confers powers to the Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales to enforce eel protection measures on responsible persons, with a view to meeting the objectives of the Eel Management Plans and the EC Eel Regulation. In particular, there are requirements for the provision of adequate screening and fish passage at diversion structures (e.g. water intakes or weirs).

Various guidance documents have been produced by the Environment Agency. The Eel Manual is a series of publications focussed on eel protection measures, including best practice screening guidance.

Read the most recent Defra Report to the European Commission in line with Article 9 of the Eel Regulation 1100/2007: Implementation of UK Eel Management Plans (June 2015).

How can BUG help?

BUG has specialist knowledge of the Eels Regulations and is able to provide advice on all aspects of compliance, from eel population risk to Cost Benefit Analysis of proposed solutions.

Dr Andy Harrison has considerable experience of eel screening and passage compliance assessments, having undertaken site appraisals at more than 100 intakes throughout the UK, ranging from small gravity fed river intakes to large estuarine power station abstractions.

Andy was also the lead author on the recently published UK Water Industry Research publication ‘Implementation of the Eels Regulations‘. This document, prepared for the water sector, provides a comprehensive review and critique of the Eels Regulations in England and Wales, with particular emphasis on the Cost Benefit Analysis approach and the current Regulatory position.


Eel surveys

In addition to expertise with regard to the legal framework for eel protection, BUG has a comprehensive eel survey capability including:


  • Bespoke sampling methodologies developed to assess glass eel recruitment to estuaries.
  • Elver traps for monitoring riverine recruitment
  • Electric fishing and trapping for adult yellow eels
  • Custom fyke nets for monitoring downstream migrating silver eels
  • Entrainment sampling to assess water abstraction impacts
  • Radio and acoustic tagging and tracking capability

For an informal discussion on any aspect of the Eels Regulations or eel survey requirements