A combination of high tides, westerly gales and exceptional rainfall this month has resulted in extensive flooding in the Severn river basin.
Michael who is one of our collectors on the Parrett, his home has been under water for three weeks and the village has been cut off from the rest of the world by extensive and deep flooding.
Though there has been some overtopping some significant flood defences in other parts of the river basin the impact has been short lived.
Fortunately for us in the UK the principal period of production for the glass eels season does not start until much later in the month. By then we hope the Jet Stream that is guiding these low pressure systems onto our Western coastal regions will have moved.
Historically conditions with high river flows where massive amounts of fresh water are discharged into the Bristol Channel have proved to be years of high glass eel recruitment. Conversely drought conditions with no water have had a negative impact.
In Asia the price of A.japonica continues to fall from its high point of 2.2 million JY at the start of the season to 1.0 million JY in the New Year. With the expectations of increased recruitment and falling demand the market fell as low as 650,000 JY. In the last few days there has been some recovery. The price of A. japonica has recovered a little and is currently 900,000 JY.
For reference 1 million JY is 9500 USD.
The minor commercial species such as Mormorata, Mozambica and Bicola are virtually worthless.
The price of A.Rostrata has decreased from 5000 USD to 2000 USD and for a time there was no demand.
The lack of confidence in the market for a short time slowed the illegal movements of A. anguilla to Asia. However A. Anguilla is once again appearing in Asia. It is suggested that already 10,000 kilos has been exported, more than this time last year. There are huge pressures in France to find a market for the glass eels. Wholesale prices in Asia are reported to be between 700 and 800 Euros per kilo.
There is still a strong glass eel recruitment in France. The illegal fishermen with these small handnets are able to catch 2 kgs of glass eels a night. It would be interesting to see how many they could catch with our traditional Severn hand net which is significantly larger.
Peter Wood, for UK Glass Eels.