The European Eel has been in decline for well over 100 years however the last 30 as seen a sharp increase and so triggered its endangered status. There are many causes and no silver bullet. Habitat loss is significant especially of Wetlands and here in UK there is only some 20% left. Blocked migration pathways are a big issues with 1.3 million barriers to the rivers of Europe and of course the 25,000 hydropower stations. Over fishing is clearly a cause too and the revelations of early April 2018 of the enormous scale have shocked the eel community – EUROPOL believe 100 tons or 350 million eels are being trafficked annually to Asia. This is one quarter of the annual recruitment. The major countries are France then Spain and Portugal. TheSustainable Eel Group (SEG)aims to create impact for healthy wild eel populations to support their role in aquatic environments and sustainable use for the benefit of communities, local economies and traditions. Please see theSEG’s latest report on eel traffickingfor more information on this subject.
Andrew Kerr(Chairman, Sustainable Eel Group) has always had a passion for wildlife – from playing with the monkeys in his family garden in the mid 1950’s in Singapore to today where he champions a sustainable solution to enable the recovery of the critically endangered European Eel. Andrew has a wide range of experience, having been a soldier and grounded in commerce perspectives working for Clarks Shoes and ran his own management consultancy specialising in organisational and management development for 25 years. He became involved in conservation, professionally through U.K.’s Wildlife Trustswhere he held Chairman positions for Gloucestershire and then South West. In 2010, after speaking at the UK’s first eel conference, Andrew formed the SEG to bring together Science, Conservation and Commercial interests into one united European wide movement.