Facilitet til reproduktion af ål. Foto: Sune Riis Sørensen

Facilities for research in captive reproduction of European eel, Hirtshals

With the EEL HATCH project, DTU Aqua manages experimental facilities for reproduction of eels in culture

DTU Aqua coordinates the collaborative, research project EEL HATCH that aims at developing methods and technology to reproduce the European eel in captivity and raise larvae in culture. The ultimate goal is to establish a hatchery that can produce glass eels for the aquaculture industry. Production of glass eels in culture is of great interest due to the decline of the European eel stock in nature. A commercial production of juveniles will allow aquaculture production without wild-caught glass eels and thereby revival of the large market for eels for consumption in Europe and Asia.

The EEL HATCH consortium has as part of the project established new experimental facilities at DTU Aqua in Hirtshals. The facility, which was inaugurated in the spring of 2016, has a total area of 650 m2 and includes laboratories and culture systems for broodstock, incubation of eggs and larval rearing. The facility uses aquaculture recirculation technology and benefits from natural sea water intake via the North Sea Science Park’s pipeline.  

The research and innovation project EEL HATCH is financially supported by the Innovation Fund Denmark and its industrial project partners. The project represents an interdisciplinary, collaboration among DTU Aqua, Billund Aquaculture, STMI Aqua Systems, Danish Aquaculture Organisation, Bioneer, BioMar and North Sea Science Park.

Recirkuleringssystem til hold af stamfisk.  Foto: Sune Riis Sørensen.

Recirculation rearing systems for European eel broodstock. 

Analyse af æg efter kunstig befrugtning. Foto: Sune Riis Sørensen.

Inspection of eggs after artificial fertilisation.

System til inkubering af æg, som er  under udvikling.  Foto: Sune Riis Sørensen.

Incubation system for developing eggs and embryos.

Nyklækkede larver af europæisk ål. Foto: Sune Riis Sørensen.

Newly hatched larvae of European eel.

Facilitet til reproduktion af ål. Foto: Sune Riis Sørensen

The EEL-HATCH facility has an office and lab building (130 m2) and facilities for broodstock and larvae culture (520 m2).

Research in fish biology

Research in reproduction and larval culture of European eel relates to the research area Fish Biology.
Learn more about DTU Aqua's research in fish biology


Jonna Tomkiewicz
Senior Researcher
DTU Aqua
+45 35 88 34 08