What's long, skinny, and endangered? No, it's not Michael Jackson
Europe's eels are in deep trouble, and that situation is getting some ink now that Dutch fishermen are joining eels in the decline.
Eels are fascinating creatures, and unfortunately their complex lifecycle makes them perhaps uniquely vulnerable to overfishing, habitat damage, and other human-caused ills afflicting fish. (That's right, eels are fish).
Eels live most of their lives in rivers, but then the adults swim out to sea and spawn mysteriously in places people can't find. Baby eels drift in the ocean for nearly a year and then return to rivers as tiny and nearly invisible "glass eels" that are an expensive delicacy when eaten whole and sometimes while still alive (right).
Dutch fishery managers are responding to the plight of the European eel, thanks perhaps to eel protection campaigns by WWF and others. Fishermen wish for a different type of recovery plan, one that leaves them free to fish, of course.
Eel politics are not new, eel riots date back to the 1800s when fishermen battled police trying to break up a type of eel tug-of-war according to the New York Times. Hmmm...eels seem to invite strange behavior in people. Maybe there is a Michael Jackson connection.