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American Eel Status Review Workshops

Workshop One: Atlantic Coast/Islands Threats
Nov. 29 — Dec. 1, 2005

Workshop Two: Great Lakes/Canada Threats and Population Dynamics
Jan. 31 — Feb. 2, 2006

As part of the status review for the American eel, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed three “threats” workshops with the goal of producing a comprehensive compilation of scientific and commercial information collected from multiple sources. This is to insure that the Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service utilize in the proper context the best and most current scientific and commercial data available in conducting the status review. To reach this goal, experts were asked to assess the presented information (which included multiple factual inputs, data, models, assumptions, etc.), apply their best professional judgment, and render individual assessments on various topics. No group consensus was sought. The objectives included (1) determining the utility of the presented information that will be used to draw status review conclusions; (2) determining life history stages vulnerable to the threats, the geographic scope of the threats, the severity of the threats to the various life stages, and whether the threat is only historic, current and historic, etc.; and (3) identifying uncertainties in the available information, and identifying the potential implications of the uncertainties.

A rigorous process was used in selecting the expert panelists. The panelists selected represented a broad and diverse range of scientific perspectives relevant to the status review. They were a balanced group of domestic and international experts coming from state and federal agencies, tribes, academia, domestic and foreign researchers, industry scientists, and nongovernmental organizations. They had expertise on the threats or life history characteristics associated with the threat. The panelists were asked to remain as independent as practicable and be free of financial or other interests that conflict with the panelist’s ability to perform the desired task by impairing objectivity or creating an unfair advantage for the person or organization.

The other invitees to the workshop were limited to Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service representatives, Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and Great Lakes Fisheries Commission representatives, and Tribal representatives.

The first workshop focused on understanding the relative importance of freshwater, estuarine and marine habitats; vulnerabilities and resiliencies within various life stages; and compensatory mechanisms inherent in this species; the role of oceanic conditions; and the characterization of , impacts from, and uncertainties surrounding - barriers, turbines, harvest and international trade.

The second workshop focused on the characterization of, impacts from, and uncertainties surrounding - contaminants, and disease, including A. crassus; the relative importance of lake habitats, particularly Lake Ontario, to the overall fecundity of the species; integration of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries American eel Stock Assessment and Peer Review; and the population dynamics of the species. The latter included discussion of the 2005 population dynamics workshop organized by the U.S. Geological Survey scientists; identification of the significant threats, drivers, and the most vulnerable life stages; and lastly, individual panelists were asked to summarize risk and list the uncertainties which will have the most implication to the viability of the species.

Workshop One

Workshop Two