European eel, Anguilla anguilla (L.), migrating to sea encounter many man-made structures that can hamper and delay migration or induce mortality. Three pumping stations in Friesland, the Netherlands, were covered with acoustic receivers. Ninety-three silver eels tagged with acoustic transmitters were released in the polders upstream of the stations and 89% were detected passing a pumping station. The majority of silver eels passed the stations within a day after arriving at the station. Four silver eels stayed for longer than 2 weeks before passage, and 18 were detected at the receiver downstream the pumping station for more than one day, with detections up to several weeks. These detections probably indicated a dead eel, but could also indicate a live eel remaining at the site. Most of the silver eels passed the pumping stations within a day after release, so fish-friendly pumps will benefit the migrating population most. In the Netherlands, there are several thousand pumping stations. Installing fish passages near these stations is not feasible due to high costs. Prioritising all these sites in relation to the degree of blockage, mortality rates and its relative importance for migratory fish, can maximise the effectiveness of measures and mitigation taken.