James Prosek

American Eel

Swim Drink Fish Gala guests contributing $5,000+ during the donation drive will receive a framed James Prosek print (either American Eel or Trout).

The American Eel is the quintessential Lake Ontario fish. This traditional fish is born in the Sargasso Sea near Bermuda, then travels 1,500 km to Lake Ontario before returning to the sea to spawn. Our lake provides the best eel habitat on the entire planet. At one time the American Eel made up half of all biomass (life) in Lake Ontario.

The American Eel is of special interest to Swim Drink Fish because of its recent rapid decline. The species has all but vanished from the lake during our lifetime. The biggest cause for the decline of the eel is power generation at the Moses-Saunders Power Dam in Cornwall, Ontario, as it has trouble making it back to the ocean. When young eels do make it to Lake Ontario from the Atlantic Ocean, they arrive here to find that most of their habitat has been polluted or filled.

Swim Drink Fish continues to monitor and comment on American Eel policies at the provincial, state, federal, and international levels. We also work to eliminate once-through cooling water systems on Lake Ontario; these systems kill more fish than any other technology on the lake and could easily be replaced by modern, more environmentally-friendly options.

In an effort to build awareness of the near-extinct American Eel, Swim Drink Fish is pleased to introduce a print by James Prosek: American Eel. Prosek is an American artist best known for his watercolours of trout and eel, which are often featured in publications promoting awareness of the species’ endangerment due to ongoing environmental concerns. His book Eels: An Exploration, from New Zealand to the Sargasso, of the World’s Most Amazing and Mysterious Fish (2010) was a New York Times Book Review editor’s choice and is the subject of a documentary for the PBS series Nature that aired in 2013.

Restoring and protecting the American Eel is one of the many important indicators of the Swim Drink Fish movement. James Prosek truly captured our imaginations and inspired us to do more for the creature that made Lake Ontario world-famous.