Accelerating the recovery of the European Eel

North Africa as a source for European eel following the 2010 EU CITES eel trade ban

North Africa as a source for European eel following the 2010 EU CITES eel trade ban

author: Vincent Nijman
source: Marine Policy 85 (2017) 133–137

Please note: A previous version of the abstract contained an error. The following sentence claimed “US$126 million” instead of “US$12.6 million” : “The monetary value of the trade totalled US$12.6 million and did not increase over time, but the importance of the live eel trade increase from 76% prior to the ban to 93% after.”

The author will submit an Erratum to the journal in order to correct the error for the print version

Abstract. In 2007 CITES included the Critically Endangered European eel on its Appendix II, thereby regulation inter- national trade. In 2010 the EU member states adopted a ‘zero-quota’ policy thereby banning all commercial international trade. Given the continued high demand for eel in East Asia shifts have occurred to source European eel from non-EU eel range countries. Using official export figures from two independent databases, I here quantify to what extend Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria are fulfilling this demand. The ban had little effect on the annual export volumes in live eel from Morocco (mean of 41.3 metric ton / year), Algeria (15.5 t) or Tunisia (56.2 t) or chilled/frozen eel from Algeria (11.7 t) and Tunisia (20.0 t) but this trade from Morocco increased significantly (from 27.4 to 237.2 t). Prior to the ban the trade in eel from North Africa was almost exclusively to European countries (live 93–98%) and very little to East Asia, whereas after the ban East Asia became the main importer (live 91–93%). The monetary value of the trade totalled US$12.6 million and did not increase over time, but the importance of the live eel trade increase from 76% prior to the ban to 93% after. It is unclear on what basis Morocco and Tunisia were able to decide what level of trade was not detrimental to the survival of European eel in the wild, and I argue for better monitoring to ensure that international trade is not an impediment to the conservation of European eel.



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