Nobody has ever witnessed European eels spawning in the
Sargasso Sea. No post-spawning eel has ever been captured in the Sargasso nor
at any position outside of it. No dead eel has ever been retrieved in or near the
Sargassso Sea. To say the act of spawning is a mystery is to understate it.
Scientists believe that due to the effort required in making the migration, the
fact that apparently irreversible physiological changes have occurred and the
stress and damage that the act of spawning may involve, the eels die after
spawning and their bodies remain on the sea bed.
We do know that a single large female eel can liberate many
millions of eggs and so in a mass spawning event – if that is what happens - the
sea must be opaque with eggs and milt. The fertilized eggs float to the surface
and drift with the currents, heading back towards Europe.