Accelerating the recovery of the European Eel

Operation LAKE: Three arrested for illegal catching of elvers in international operation

The Portuguese National Guard announced that three people were arrested and three others were charged with the illegal capture and possession of elvers in an international operation involving more than 170 officers in the municipalities of Montemor-o-Velho, Figueira da Foz and Soure.
According to the GNR, as part of the Europol operation “LAKE”, 28 searches were carried out – 14 at home and 14 on boats, vehicles and annexes – which culminated in the seizure of live and frozen elvers, several fishing gears and equipment for conservation, transportation and commercialisation.
In a press release, the GNR explained that 60 kilos of elvers were seized, 21 nets, three boats, a vehicle, several materials related to fishing and conservation of elvers, 1249 euros in cash, 27 mobile phones, nine computers, two cameras, a rifle and a firearm.
The arrest was made by the Nature and Environment Protection Section (SEPNA), of the GNR’s Coimbra Territorial Command, and the investigation had been ongoing for a year and involved the illegal capture, possession and commercialisation of elvers.
GNR soldiers concluded that, after the capture, the suspects kept the elvers in tanks with oxygenation, temperature control and refrigeration to preserve them.
In addition to the three men arrested, aged between 27 and 59, three others aged between 43 and 51 were also charged with the same crime, and the facts have been referred to the Figueira da Foz Judicial Court, the GNR added.
The operation was reinforced by the Coastal Control Unit (UCC), the Intervention Unit (UI) and with the support of the Institute of Nature Conservation and Forests (ICNF) and Europol.

The original article is available here