Former Minister for agriculture Gerda Verburg visited the research facility Cell-Observatory of Leiden University on 27th of October. The researchers investigate how the eel reproduces itself in captivity. This is of great importance for the farming of eel. In Volendam the first experimental glass eel reproduction center is going to start. Armed with the results of the research in Leiden and assisted by the InnovatieNetwerk of the LNV, Volendam Glasaal BV will continue researching the reproduction of the eel.
In laboratories in Leiden the eel is already reproducing. However, it has not yet been accomplished to breed the captivated larvae into glass eels. Minister Verburg of LNV hopes to see this being accomplished within the next few years. Verburg paid a visit to the Cell-Observatory research center at Leiden University, under great interest of the press. She was brought up to date with the latest developments by physiologist Guido van den Tilhart and molecular cell biologist Herman Spaink.
It seems that Holland, together with Japan and Denmark, are the major contenders in the research of the reproduction of the eel in captivity. At the eel facility in Leiden, they make the eel swim through glass tubes simulating the journey to the natural breeding areas in the Sargasso Sea. They stimulated the hormone production of the eels and keep it at a constant level using implants.
Leiden is as far as producing eel larvae but further research will have to show how to let them survive. This research will for the most part take place in Volendam. That is why it is not a coincidence that minister Verburg was guided by Volendam entrepreneurs and politicians.
The county of Noord-Holland, ZF Screens (does research into manipulating the reproduction of fish), Innofisk, the European Pro Eel and Volendam Glasaal BV (who received a VIP grant) will all play a role in this project.