1. An invitation has been received from ExpoLab, a science dissemination centre, for giving a talk on the project on June 7th, and to collaborate on a field trip of students from the Science Club of Água de Pau High School. We have accepted and are starting to plan both activities.
2. Calls for proposals to build the EEL Trek website have been sent out. The plan is to have the website up and running by the end of March.
3. Contacts have been made with the Azores Government about the licensing required for this work. Although the existing licenses cover the ongoing work, a specific license will be requested for EEL Trek, which will be valid for the whole duration of the project. The requested is planned to be sent out in early March.
4. Field work is planned to start in March, aimed at studying the glass eel and elver upstream migration, including the timing and the obstacles to this migration. A PhD student (George Cowan), a MSc student (Sara Ramallo), both from Hull University, and two undergraduate students (Xristos Xavas, from University of Ioannina, Greece, and David Fontes, from the University of the Azores) will be involved at this stage.
5. We have received a request from information from the Regional Government about the current public consultation by the EU on the Evaluation of the Eel Regulation (https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/better-regulation/initiatives/ares-2018-1986447/public-consultation_en). We are advising the Government on this matter, and also pushing to have the importance of the Azores recognized on the new National Eel Management Plan. The previous plan did not include the Azores on the grounds that there are no human threats to the species there, which is demonstrably false. Our argument is also that, although the population is understandably small compared with the whole of Europe, every population counts when a species is critically threatened with extinction.