Eel/Elver Project


Estimating Relative Abundance of Juvenile American Eel (Elvers) in Gespe’gewa’gi (present day Miramichi River, New Brunswick area to southern parts of Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula)


The Estimating Relative Abundance of Juvenile American Eel (Elvers) in Gespe’gewa’gi project is intended to gather data that reveals the abundance or abundance trends of juvenile American Eels (Elvers) in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence region. Data will be collected by setting habitat traps and ramp traps and by counting elvers and associated information about their length, weight, and pigmentation stage.

Very little is known about elvers or about basic biological information, such as growth rate variations, length, etc. The inventory to estimate the relative abundance of juvenile American Eel (elvers) is intended to better understand the trends in annual recruitment of the young of year eels over time in order to produce a qualitative appraisal of the annual recruitment of American eel to the Gulf of St. Lawrence and inland fresh water systems in eastern Canada. The inventory results will provide data that is currently unknown regarding Atlantic coastal recruitment success and enhance scientific understanding of American Eel population dynamics.

It is envisioned that the monitoring program will be a yearly exercise. Ongoing use of the literature produced in the project (also to be produced in the Mi’gmaq language), and its dissemination across the Mi’gmaq Nation will ensure broad and ongoing public awareness of elvers and their habitat.

1. Determine locations where elvers are entering fresh water.
2. Monitor the elver migration at these sites to estimate the number of elvers migrating through the region.
3. Examine environmental parameters, which may affect migration success.
4. Collect basic biological information on recruiting eels including length, weight, and pigment stage.

To help build a foundation for sustainable resource management for the American Eel.

  • Year: 2009/2010
  • Status: Complete
  • Project Funding Source: Government of Canada’s Aboriginal Funds for Species at Risk (AFSAR) program