The Mystery of Eels

Eels have been a source of fascination to writer, artist and conservationist James Prosek since childhood. His introduction to the slimy, muscular fish occurred when fishing as a boy in the ponds and rivers of Connecticut. He would catch them by accident when fishing for something else. But when an old game warden explained that they were born thousands of miles away in the Sargasso Sea, somewhere in the Bermuda Triangle, Prosek became hooked and determined to learn as much he could about the mysterious creatures. Prosek’s journey takes him to Maine, where New England fishermen reap the benefits of a multibillion-dollar eel business; to Japan, where the fish are a staple of Japanese diet, with more than 130,000 tons of eel consumed each year; and to the Maori in New Zealand, where eels are revered, often depicted as mythical beings or guardians. Eels can be found all over the globe, in fresh and salt water ecosystems alike. But today, risk of over-fishing and the presence of dams and other obstacles that prevent eels from reaching their oceanic spawning grounds pose new threats to an animal that once roamed the planet alongside the dinosaurs. The Mystery of Eels premiered Wednesday, April 17 at 8/7c on PBS.

  • JB Cook

    Can’t wait to watch the show on the 17th. It looks fascinating!

  • Flick Ford

    James is the best! Will tune in tomorrow and spread the word.

  • mercedes karabec

    Why is it that I can watch this and other PBS videos at home and on my cell phone but revieve a “We’re sorry, but this video is not availabe in your region due to right restrictions.’ when I try to access it on my computers (desk and lap top) while in my school? I would love to use the videos for educational purposes and have been stymied more than once, rendering the great educational content unusable.


    Thanks in advance for your response,

    M. Karabec
    Science Teacher
    Poughkeepsie CSD

  • SCP

    Interesting visuals spoilt by a monotone narrative. Almost can’t watch any more….

  • Lynn

    I am watching the show now. He is so very painful to listen to, I am struggling not to change the channel. Please tell him to hire an actor to read for him on all subsequent films he makes. It can be his gift to the world. Thank you.

  • Dean Schaffer MD

    Is there some reason this episode on eels is narrated by an individual who is either dyslexic or learning disabled? His sing-song delivery was so irritating it almost balanced the somnolence it induced. No *everyone* can narrate! Get this bored wimp some therapy or at least a job outside of broadcasting!

  • Richard Kress

    Smashing Great!!!!

  • CDH

    Concur that the visuals are great, but the writing and delivery of the narrative are really poor. Nature films seems to be outside of Prosek’s artistic competencies, and the producers should have taken the mic out of his hand and gave it (and scriptwriting duties) to somebody with skills in the field.

  • ursula amon

    I watched with fascination about something I knew little or nothing about. My fascination turned to horror as the program described the mangling by dam turbines and harvesting of glass eels for asian consumption. Are we willing to rape our natural resource for consumption abroad? I’m hoping the program brings awareness to their plight and that New England conservancy takes measures to stop a few from profiting from what is all of ours. The lowly eel? I think not. I’m off to write to the various state govts to raise my concerns. When…when will we stop over fishing, over harvesting species to the point of decimation? I’m not embarrassed to say tears welling in my eyes makes it hard to type…

  • Josh

    So fascinating and mesmerizing.

  • Nancy Curtis

    I gave up at 18 minutes. Video should be renamed The Mystery of Cultures. I had hoped for a Nature film.

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