The Mystery of Eels

Apr 17, 2013 on PBS at 8:00 PM


Eels have been a source of fascination to writer, artist and conservationist James Prosek since childhood. His introduction to the slimy, muscular fish occurred when fishing as a boy in the ponds and rivers of Connecticut. He would catch them by acci... (more)dent when fishing for something else. But when an old game warden explained that they were born thousands of miles away in the Sargasso Sea, somewhere in the Bermuda Triangle, Prosek became hooked and determined to learn as much he could about the mysterious creatures. Prosek’s journey takes him to Maine, where New England fishermen reap the benefits of a multibillion-dollar eel business; to Japan, where the fish are a staple of Japanese diet, with more than 130,000 tons of eel consumed each year; and to the Maori in New Zealand, where eels are revered, often depicted as mythical beings or guardians. Eels can be found all over the globe, in fresh and salt water ecosystems alike. But today, risk of over-fishing and the presence of dams and other obstacles that prevent eels from reaching their oceanic spawning grounds pose new threats to an animal that once roamed the planet alongside the dinosaurs.

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