The European eel (Anguilla Anguilla) is a species which can reach the length of 60-80cm. It is rare to see an Anguilla Anguilla of more than 1m in length, but there are exemplary specimens which may even grow to even 1.5m.
Artificial breeding of this species of eel has so far been unable to exclude the natural breeding process of the fish. Mature specimens of Anguilla Anguilla leave European rivers and swim against the stream towards the Sargasso Sea, to the north of West India. The reproductive journey of Anguilla Anguilla eel lasts 9 months, within which time the eel can also travel on land, crawling at the speed of around 3 km/h on wet ground covered with grass and moss. Diffusion of gases through the skin plays an important role in its breathing at such times. After spawning, mature eels die while transparent larvae, with the help of the underground current of the North Atlantic, called the Gulf Stream, drift through the Atlantic Ocean and reach coastal European waters. Carried by the Gulf stream, eel larvae transform into so-called “glass eels”, which are completely transparent and weigh less than 0.3 g each. In this form, they reach European lakes and rivers.
During its growth process, the back of the eel’s body gradually turns dark grey and green, sometimes nearly completely black, with lighter sides and yellow and white belly, which gives it its name: “yellow eel”. In freshwater areas, the eel reaches reproductive maturity after 5-20 years. The bodies of specimens ready to start their reproductive journey in the spawning season get covered in scales, the colour of the belly changes to white and the eyes enlarge. In this form, the eel is known as the “silver eel”. Silver eels start their migration back to the Sargasso Sea, the place where they will spawn and end their lives.
Eel – an Eastern aphrodisiac
A great source of energy, rich in proteins, delicious thanks to its delicate structure and juicy on the tongue – these are only examples of the benefits of including eel in our diet. The fish is also considered an aphrodisiac, which nearly caused the species to become extinct in the past. The health benefits of eel are also noteworthy, as thanks to omega-3 fatty acids it helps protect against atherosclerosis, hypertension, stroke and heart attack. It is also considered an important part of an anti-carcinogenic diet. Eel is recommended to people suffering from eye and skeletal system diseases – especially osteoporosis. This fish is a great source of vitamins A, D, B1.