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The SERP Story.

Image by John-Mark Strange

Last year, in a quiet corner of the Somerset Levels, something wonderful blossomed out of a conversion between friends. Amidst the scholarly discourse at the Wilder Wedmore Festival, local residents and community activists Vanessa and Geoff joined forces with the Sustainable Eel Group, a commercially astute and scientifically informed conservation organisation responsible for safeguarding the future of the European eel.

Recognising the immediate and tangible impact of the group's small-scale solutions, they resolved to take up the challenge of making similarly small but impactful actions to help this critically endangered species overcome barriers to migration in their local waterways. The Somerset Eel Recovery Project was born.


Enacting change from the bottom-up, SERP has committed to educating people of all ages on particularly local issues facing the European eel. Through the 'Eels in the Classroom' initiative, in which elvers are cared for and released upstream by partner schools and colleges, we have pushed the boundaries in biological pedagogy, whilst drawing attention to unsustainable developments in the local area. Our popular rope-making workshops have offered multi-talented volunteers training in traditional skills used to improve the fate of migratory fish.

A focus on Somerset's waterways ensures our interventions remain resource-light, measurable, and effective, but our contributions extend beyond the region to contribute to the wider scientific community. Through an ambitious programme of eDNA sampling and strategic collaborations with local stakeholders, we have worked deligently to collect data and generate a more textured picture of the eel's recovery.


Looking ahead, we remain resolute in our mission—to restore the vitality of Somerset’s eel populations. By reconceptualising citizen science, educational outreach, and vocational training, the Somerset Eel Recovery Project stands poised to catalyse enduring social, economic, and environmental change.

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