The apparent decline in the population of the American eel will be studied, if plans put forward by the US national-hydropower-association (NHA) are accepted.

The eel, Anguilla rostrata, is a species of fish native to the US Atlantic coastal states and beyond. Speculation over the causes of its decline have blamed over-harvesting, contamination, migration barriers and habitat modification. The NHA is joining the American Fisheries Society and American Rivers to campaign for research that will pinpont the cause. The proposed five-year programme will cost an additional $1M per year and will be conducted by the US Fish & Wildlife Service.

‘As good stewards of the rivers, the hydro power industry is taking a proactive approach to avert a potential crisis,’ said NHA executive director Linda Church Ciocci. ‘We need congressional action so that we may identify and evaluate all potential impacts on the American eel population, using the best scientific methods available, and reverse its decline,’ she said.