Thousands of eels released into River Avon as part of biodiversity project

  • Watch as experts talk to ITV News' Ken Goodwin about the importance of elvers

Thousands of eels have been released into the River Avon in Tewkesbury as part of a conservation effort.

The baby eels - known as elvers - were caught by fishermen last spring and now 60,000 have been tipped into the river.

It's hoped that by releasing the creatures into the water it will preserve the species.

The creatures used to be caught and sold for food but there is now a ban on their exportation to help improve numbers in the river network.

Vicky Hale from the Glass Eel Company is part of the team that has looked after the eels in tanks since.

Vicky said the eels have grown larger than they would have if they were in the wild Credit: ITV News

She said: "We’ve had them since May, so they get warmed up, get fed and so they grow quite quickly compared to what they do in the wild.

"That’s why they’re so big now. You wouldn’t find them this big in the wild at this age."

The eels had spawned in the Sargasso Sea and migrated across the Atlantic Ocean.

After being caught and fed, the eel tanks were drained so they could be weighed and placed in crates.

Vans carrying the crates were taken to various spots along the river for the eels to be released.

60,000 eels were released into the river Credit: ITV News

Peter Wood at the Glass Eel Company said: "We started at Stratford, we've done Bidford. We’ve been to Evesham and Pershore, and Eckington.

"Now we’re at Tewkesbury and we’ve released 60,000 eels. Total weight is 950 kilos!"

Carl Hewlett was one of the fishermen who helped catch the elvers which are now being released as adults.

He said: "It’s brilliant. It's nice to see. They say they are endangered so it's good for the environment.

"It's good for us to see it as well and make a sustainable fishery for the future."