Linköping's Tekniska verken cares about the well-being of eels, Source: Depositphotos

Linköping’s hydropower company transports eels from river to sea so they can spawn

Linköping’s hydropower company transports eels from river to sea so they can spawn

Still far from having zero “man-made eel mortality” though, but the effort counts

The Tekniska verken energy company, based in the Swedish city of Linköping, reported that 2022 has been a record year for the enterprise, but probably for something that you wouldn’t expect would be part of its core activities. Specially assigned operators have helped save the lives of over 5,700 eels by transporting them safely from lakes in Östergötland County to the Baltic Sea in tanker trucks.

The need for the operation was motivated by the fact that every year the fish travel from the lakes through rivers trying to reach the Baltic Sea and eventually the Caribbean where they spawn. And hydroelectric plants, such as that operated by Tekniska verken, through their turbines, constitute one of many serious obstacles on the eels’ natural way back to the Sargasso Sea.

Energy production with environmental concern

Hydropower electric production is considered renewable energy, however, it does have an impact on the biosphere inhabiting rivers. That is why, Tekniska verken has accounted for this issue in its operations, in order to create a more sustainable energy environment.

This is a kind of artificial respiration and we are far from the zero vision of reducing all man-made eel mortality. But we are taking a concrete measure that helps the eel here and now, while at the same time, we have to work actively to fix the problems in the long term,” says Jakob Bergengren, an environmental engineer at Tekniska verken.

The company employs local professional fishermen who catch the eels in large bottom nets and then drive them to the sea in well-oxygenated tanks.

The relocation of eels takes place within the industry-wide project Krafttag Ål. The project is managed by Energiforsk and has been carried out in collaboration between a number of hydropower companies and the Norwegian Sea and Water Authority since 2011.

The hydropower companies pay for the voluntary measures included in the program. The overall goal of the Krafttag Eel program is to help 15,000 eels reach the sea each year.



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