major threats facing eels are considered to be commercial
fisheries, habitat loss, chemical pollutants, disease
arising from introduced parasites, and oceanographic
changes. These factors may be operating in tandem
and their impacts may have gradually accrued over
time. The long lifespan and high fat content of
eels have exposed them to relatively high levels
of persistent, bioaccumulating contaminants (e.g.,
PCBs, mirex, mercury) over parts of their range.
Increased mortality, reduced reproductive ability
and disruption of migratory behavior are among the
many potential effects, but few studies specifically
on eels have been conducted. High levels of contaminants
have prompted human health advisories concerning
eel consumption in some states.