An American Eel Love Story
Love stories—tales of overcoming adversity and following your heart—often inspire and impress. The epic story of the love life (or breeding cycle) of American eels does just that, as related in a recent Associated Press article.
The American eel (Anguilla rostrata) begins life in Bermuda's Sargasso Sea, a region nearly the size of the continental United States. The young eels spend a year or more drifting along the Gulf Stream before reaching the rivers and streams near the northern U.S. coast, where they grow to full size and spend most of their lives. When they reach sexual maturity, roughly between 5 and 25 years of age, these late bloomers migrate more than a thousand miles back to the Sargasso Sea, where they mate and die. A new generation of eels begins the cycle again.
The Sargasso Sea is critical for these eels and countless other animals. Named after Sargassum—large mats of golden seaweed floating on the water's surface—this unusual ecosystem supports a diversity of marine life, including species that have developed unique shapes and color patterns that camouflage them among the plants. The sea is separated from the surrounding Atlantic by four ocean currents that are some of the strongest in the world.
The Pew Environment Group's Global Ocean Legacy Program is working with the government of Bermuda, nongovernmental organizations, and scientists to establish the “Bermuda Blue Halo.” This very large, no-take marine reserve would protect the Sargasso Sea, and the marine life that depends on it, within Bermuda's territorial waters.
Media Contact: Laura Margison 202.540.6395