Accelerating the recovery of the European Eel

1:50 PM CET – Eel ban likely to be rejected by EU ministers

Eel ban likely to be rejected by EU ministers

— By Kait Bolongaro, POLITICO
12/11/17, 1:50 PM CET

A European Commission proposal to ban eel fishing in all EU basins is being opposed by EU ministers meeting today under the Fisheries Council, according to delegates.

Three EU officials attending the meeting said the Commission’s proposal will not receive the support of the Council. Even Sweden, which was previously in favor of a ban, has reversed its position, the officials said.

EU ministers are instead negotiating with the Commission on a political statement that could include a commitment to adhere to national targets to bolster European eel populations, according to the three officials.

With discussions ongoing, officials said the statement may also oblige EU countries to reduce the number of eels caught or killed in the wild such as by dams and power plants.

The Commission originally proposed a ban on eel fishing in the Baltic Sea in August, which was expanded to all EU basins after fisheries quota negotiations in October. The species is listed as “critically endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Delegates from the EU28 are in Brussels to determine the amount of fish that can be caught by the EU fleet in the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean in 2018.

One delegate said there was appetite to agree a common position on eels before discussions on wider catch limits intensify on Tuesday.