There are a number of species of Sand Eel around the UK but they are almost impossible to tell apart without a detailed examination in the hand. An important source of food for many fish and birds, sand eel populations have fluctuated wildly in recent years possibly due to changing sea temperatures. This coupled with massive, unregulated fishing which targets these species for fish meal has caused serious problems for auks, terns and kittiwakes amongst others. Many sea bird colonies around the UK are in heavy decline as a result.
St. Abbs Marine Reserve, North Sea