Accelerating the recovery of the European Eel

EU Commission report: “Address the Environmental Issues for eel recovery”

The latest European Commission report to the Council and European Parliament makes a strong call for further attention on environmental actions for the eel.

Published on 21 October 2014 it indicates that some EU members states have been slow to implement conservation measures in their Eel Management Plans, and says “More attention should be given to management measures related to non-fishing anthropogenic mortality factors”, including hydropower and pumping stations, habitat loss or degradation, pollution, diseases and parasites – “the majority of which have only been partially implemented by member states.”

The report goes on to explain the difficulties of measuring eel population and concludes that there is an urgent need ‘for solid estimates’ and a new estimation of stock indicators.

Andrew Kerr, SEG Chairman said “Following the huge increases of glass eel recruitment to the Bay of Biscay and the River Severn in 2013 and 2014, SEG believes nature has been unable to make best use of this abundance because so many natural eel migration pathways remain blocked. The translocation of 90 million plus eel in 2014 as a restocking conservation measure, whilst being highly commendable, cannot be regarded as a lasting or sustainable solution.

Overall, SEG welcomes the fact that the debate is no longer centred on fishery restrictions (we strongly believe that the best solutions for the eel’s recovery require a vibrant sustainable fishery across Europe) and that further research will be conducted to give a more accurate picture of eel populations.”

The full report is available here