The Sydostleden runs along Sweden’s famous eel coast. For centuries men like Mats and Max have been fishing for eel here. After spawning in the Saragossa Sea, the eels swim back to the Baltic Sea and end up in one of the twins’ traps after travelling 6000 kilometres back.
All over Europe the eel stock is threatened. Sweden is doing the upmost to protect the eel and has even stricter rules than other countries in Europe. That’s why the number of eel fishing permits is very limited and fishing can now only be exercised three months a year on the eastern coast of Skåne, the so-called Åla coast (Eel Coast), which extends from Åhus to Stenshuvud.
Meanwhile, I am feeling stressed. The boat that we’re on is way too small for so many people. I crouch and feel all kinds of fish writhing around my bare ankles. Jellyfish, perch, eel and herring. Suddenly I'm concerned about the bycatch: “Jellyfish sting, don’t they?” A grin from Max: “Only the female ones”.
The fishermen Mats and Max Svensson
Photo: Frits Meyst, WideOyster.com