Waterways Ontario
  • summer camp 2
American Eels Released in the Ottawa River

American Eels Released in the Ottawa River

Posted by Admin on Jul 17th 2014

American eels in the Ottawa River have been dwindling and a joint effort is hoping to kick start a regrowth.

400 young American eels now call the Ottawa River home.  The combined effort, the first in what is hoped to be an annual process, includes the governments of Ontario and Quebec, Hydro-Québec, the Canadian Wildlife Federation and the Algonquins of Ontario and the purpose is to restart the dwindling population in the region.


Dams have damaged the American eel population in the Ottawa River because they block the natural progression of young going upstream, and mature eels heading downstream to spawn.  At an age between 17 and 25 years, eels head out into the Atlantic Ocean where they spawn and die and the young return to their parents’ rivers.  There was a time when eels were an important food source for the First Nations people.The eels came from an eel ladder that circumvents the dam in Beauharnois.  They were set free in the middle of the Ottawa near the Carillon dam that spans from Carillon to Pointe-Fortune.


Joffre Cote, a management biologist for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources at the Kemptville district said “The American eel is a species at risk in Ontario.  We hope it will be an annual event until we find a more permanent upstream passage for the Ottawa River. The odd eel does get through the Carillion dam. We don’t know how or where, but they are resilient creatures.”


©   2018 WaterWays Ontario