EU agrees to accelerate the recovery of the European eel
13 December 2017
Today, after all-night negotiations, Member States reached a political agreement on a Council Regulation concerning the 2018 fishing opportunities for the main commercial fish stocks in the Atlantic and the North Sea.
Due to the critical status of the European eel stock, Member States agreed to prohibit to fish European eels of an overall length of 12 cm or more in the Atlantic and North Sea for an overall period of 3 months to be determined by each Member State between September 2018 and January 2019.
In a Joint Declaration, all Member States and the European Commission also committed to improve the implementation of their national Eel Management Plans, to review restocking practices and to fight illegal fishing.
SEG welcomes these major steps towards the objectives aimed for by the EU Eel Regulation, namely the protection and the sustainable use of the stock. The current low state of the stock and the inadequate protection achieved in many member states so far clearly required a significant stepping up in ambition, as shown in the Council’s Regulation on the 2018 fishing opportunities and the complementary Joint Declaration.
In particular, SEG supports the Member States’ and Commission’s determination to address all human impacts including fisheries, river habitat, hydro power and other migration barriers, as well as illegal trade. Unless all these impacts are effectively addressed as a matter of urgency, the agreed fishery ban on its own is unlikely to achieve the recovery of the stock.
SEG, working with all the relevant stakeholders, commits to fully cooperate with this process of evaluation and continuous improvement of the governance of the eel stock management both at the EU and national level, and beyond.
Download press release (13 Dec 2017) and position paper (21 Nov 2017)