The French National Committee for Maritime Fisheries and Marine Fish Farming (CNPMEM) and the French National Committee for Freshwater Professional Fishing (CONAPPED) have formed a joint press release about the dismantling of the international illegal traffic in glass eels. SEG welcomes this response from CNPMEM and CONAPPED, and shares their determination to end all illegal eel trafficking. The Sustainable Eel Group supports urgent implementation of control and enforcement through full traceability from fishermen to final customer.
Following an investigation that has been ongoing since November 2015, several arrests and seizures were made on Thursday 2 June 2016, as part of the dismantling of an international traffic in glass eels. The French fishing industry welcomes the work done but must not caught up in the blame by confusion.
The French National Committee for Maritime Fisheries and Marine Fish Farming (CNPMEM) and the French National Committee for Freshwater Professional Fishing (CONAPPED) welcome the dismantling of a clandestine fishing and marketing network and hope that exemplary punishments will be imposed on the offenders who by their actions have brought discredit to an entire professional sector.
However, conflating this illegal traffic and the normal, legal French fishing industry must be avoided. Indeed, the French sector is the first victim of this abuse that has created economic, environmental, and social damages.
For the record, the French maritime and inland glass eel fishery has 532 companies in 2016. Efforts have been made for many years by French professionals including a decrease by almost 60% of the fleet since 2006. These professionals, who are acting beyond their required obligations, are the first European contributors to eel restocking programmes. They are partners involved in field data collection for a better scientific knowledge of eel stocks, as well as stakeholders working for greater transparency and traceability of this fishery.
For all these reasons, the fishing industry welcomes the action of the French state and its police departments. It will be a civil party in the legal case.
Paris, June 3 2016