The Wilder Wedmore Eel Release Project

by Vanessa Becker-Hughes in Wedmore, Somerset, United Kingdom

The Wilder Wedmore Eel Release Project
We did it
On 13th April 2023 we successfully raised £5,585 with 82 supporters in 56 days

To help eels, through assisted migration into the Somerset Wetlands by moving elvers over barriers..

by Vanessa Becker-Hughes in Wedmore, Somerset, United Kingdom

Our aim is to help eels through assisted migration in the Somerset Wetlands by moving elvers, caught responsibly below the barriers and obstructions of local rivers and then release them, upstream into nursery habitats – so reducing mortality and enabling greater distribution. 

Green Wedmore is working closely with the Sustainable Eel Group a Europe wide conservation and science led organisation, which exists to accelerate the eel's recovery.

We are aiming to release up to a million young elvers and for this we are looking to raise in excess of £10,000.

It is our wish to include as many people and conservation groups in this project as possible to greater highlight to people and communities, the threats and reduction in numbers these mysterious creatures face.  

The European eel is now Critically Endangered - what better reason to join us to help restore the eel population in the Somerset Wetlands.

Green Wedmore is a busy and energetic environmental group geographically surrounded in all directions, by these beautiful and precious wetlands.

On the 9th, 10th & 11th June 2023 Green Wedmore is putting on a nature festival ‘Wilder Wedmore’.  An event with an exciting and full program of over 30 talks/walks and workshops – and yes, there is a talk on the Saturday about eels - so we encourage all supporters to get a ticket to come to the event too!

A little bit about the eel..... 

The European Eel once thrived across Europe and the UK, but is now currently classified as ‘critically endangered’ as their numbers have declined by about 90% over the past 40 years.  This is due to a number of reasons – mainly barriers to migration, destruction of wetland habitat and over-fishing in some places.

The European Eel has an amazing and extraordinary life cycle.  It starts as eggs in the Sargasso Sea near Bermuda and spends 18 months floating on ocean currents towards the coasts of Europe and North Africa.  It enters rivers and lakes and spends anything from 5 to 20 years feeding and growing into adult eels. It then returns to the sea and swims 4000 miles via the Azores for over a year back to spawn in the Sargasso Sea.

But over the centuries, river barriers and water pollution increasingly depleted those stocks, and nowadays, eels are much less abundant the further inland one travels.

In a nutshell - Green Wedmore - launching through its event ‘Wilder Wedmore’ nature festival - seeks to add to its ongoing legacy and make a difference to our local environment.  

We really want to play a key part in restoring nature in our precious Somerset Wetlands – and what an amazing opportunity to be doing this collaboratively with eel experts the Sustainable Eel Group

Along the way we hope to be encouraging more environmental and conservation groups to join us – so together we can make an impact.

Please, if you can, give generously to this project.  

For us in Wedmore, where the eel was a big part of our culture, offering this type of Crowdfunder, it really is a once in a lifetime opportunity to restock the local wetlands with eels, and we look forward to you joining us on this journey.



This project offers rewards in return for your donation. Please select a reward below.

£50 or more

£50 Reward

£50 you can assist in putting 500 elvers into the Somerset Wetlands

£20 or more

£20 Reward

£20 you can assist in putting 200 elvers into the Somerset Wetlands

£500 or more

£500 Reward

£500 you can assist in putting 5,000 elvers into the Somerset Wetlands

£1,000 or more

1000 Reward

£1000 you can assist in putting over 10,000 elvers into the Somerset Wetlands. Your name will be noted as a key supporter of this project and will be added to the Wilder Wedmore Website. You will have an invite to the final release of elvers within the Isle of Wedmore. Plus, reserved Tickets to the Andrew Kerr talk on Eels at the Wilder Wedmore festival and £20 to spend at the Riverbank Café on the afternoon of the eel talk (Sat 10th June)

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