Welcoming the latest IUCN assessment of the European Eel, SEG Chairman Andrew Kerr said:
“We are very encouraged by the IUCN’s detailed report, which finds that the situation has improved sufficiently for their experts to consider that the eel is now ‘borderline’ between critically endangered and endangered, and that ‘an even more robust assessment’ may be possible if recent recruitment increases and management actions continue.
Of course the report was debated and agreed before another huge increase in glass eel recruitment in 2014, and the massive conservation work that followed, and we hope that this trend continues and prompts further positive assessment in the next few years.
That said, we wholeheartedly agree with IUCN’s conclusion that this no time for complacency and that intense action is still required across Europe to unblock migratory pathways, and to address the significant threats presented to eels of all sizes by turbines, pumps, other man-made obstacles and a range of other factors.
There is also a desperate need for additional research and data in order to guide and focus our activities to create a more sustainable eel population.
In the meantime, we are pleased that the IUCN assessment covers the potential value of the immediate short term actions we are taking to aid the recovery of the eel population, such as trap and transport systems which ‘when applied to migrating silver eels, low in a catchment, [it] can have a significant and immediate effect on escapement thus potentially having a positive impact on the spawning stock’ – and we will continue to support our members as they try to expand this type of activity across Europe.”