Accelerating the recovery of the European Eel

European Commission published revised proposal on eel fishing ban

Brussels, 7.11.2017
COM(2017) 645 final


Fixing for 2018 the fishing opportunities for certain fish stocks and groups of fish stocks, applicable in Union waters and, for Union fishing vessels, in certain non Union waters


Eel related sections from the proposal COM(2017) 645 final:

The European eel
eel life cycle is complex, as it is a long-lived fish which is widely dispersed: recent evidence suggests that eels spawn in the Sargasso Sea and their larvae arrive with the ocean currents to the continental shelf of Europe and North Africa, where they transform into glass eels and enter continental waters.

The recurrent scientific advice states that: “… when the precautionary approach is applied for European eel, all anthropogenic impacts (e.g. recreational and commercial fishing on all stages, hydropower, pumping stations, and pollution) decreasing production and escapement of silver eel should be reduced to – or kept as close to – zero as possible.”

Given the ICES advice, it is important that all fisheries that target spawners should cease until there is a clear evidence of improvement of the state of the stock. In the light of this severe ICES advice, it is therefore appropriate, pending longer term solutions, to prohibit any fishery of European eel in 2018 in the Union waters of the ICES area and in the Baltic Sea.

(7) As regards European eel stock, the ICES advised that all anthropogenic mortalities including recreational and commercial fisheries should be reduced to zero, or kept as close to zero as possible. It is therefore necessary to implement this advice by establishing a prohibition on fishing for this species in the Baltic Sea, Kattegat, Skagerrak, the North Sea, and in the Atlantic Ocean (Union waters).

Article 12: Prohibitions
1. It shall be prohibited for Union fishing vessels to fish for, to retain on board, to tranship or to land the following species:

(a) European eel (Anguilla anguilla) of an overall length of 12 cm or longer in Union waters of the ICES area and in the Baltic Sea;

Download proposal COM(2017) 645 final