Accelerating the recovery of the European Eel

About the SEG Standard

What is the Sustainable Eel Group Standard?

The SEG Standard describes the standards to which those who trade in the European Eel must comply if they wish to claim to be doing so responsibly or sustainably.

Businesses must show their work methods and handling practices meet the requirements of the SEG standard. When the eel has also been sourced and tracked through out the supply chain then the claim for sustainability can be validated with the SEG product logo.  It allows consumers and those in the supply chain to choose responsibly caught eels from a sustainable source.

The full background behind the SEG Standard is described in the document: Background to the Development of the Sustainable Eel Group Standard.

What is its purpose?

The purpose of the SEG standard has been defined by the SEG Board, in support of its Theory of Change as:

To maximise the contribution of eel fishers, ranchers, aquaculturalists, traders and consumers of eel products to the restoration of healthy eel populations, distributed throughout their natural range, fulfilling their role in the aquatic environment and supporting sustainable use for the benefit of communities, local economies and traditions.

The Standard has been developed as part of the solution for the sustainable recovery of the European Eel. It is designed to:

• Enable operators to demonstrate high standards and their commitment to sustainability
• Encourage high and responsible standards through the supply chain, from fishery to market
• Encourage sustainable practices and sustainable markets
• Discourage unsustainable practices and unsustainable markets
• Provide confidence to consumers who wish to buy responsibly

How does it work?

Gaining certification

This is a summary of the process to gain certification under the SEG Standard:

•    Operator registers an interest to seek assessment and gain certification under the Standard, by contacting
•    SEG provides contacts for qualified Certification Bodies
•    Operator contacts a qualified Certification Body to arrange assessment
•    Certification Body completes the assessment and provides a draft report to the Operator before finalising
•    Certification Body provides a final report to the SEG Standard Panel
•    The SEG Standard Panel reviews the assessment report and either (usually) ratifies the recommendation or (sometimes) overturns the recommendation
•    The SEG Standard Panel confirms the outcome of the assessment to the Operator
•    If approved, the Operator is included on the register of assessed organisations on the SEG website.

Two Standards

There are two levels of holding the SEG Standard.

1.    Those achieving the Standard and awarded a certificate have demonstrated their commitment to legality, sustainability, traceability and the highest levels of husbandry. They are deemed capable of trading in certified sustainable sources of eel, but it does not indicate that they are actually trading in certified sustainable eel.
2.    Those who achieve the Standard and who wish to demonstrate they are trading in sustainable eel can be licensed to use the Sustainable Eel Standard logo to label their products:


Guidance for use is provided in the Standards &  Procedures for Printing of the Sustainable Eel Standard Eco-label.

The SEG Standard Conditions of Use describe these differences in more detail.
The register makes clear those who hold which level of standard.


Reports or allegations of operators transgressing the standard or the conditions of use will be investigated by the SEG Standard Panel. This may lead to temporary suspension or full withdrawal of the certificate. The procedure is described in the SEG Standard.

Review and improvement

The SEG Standard is reviewed regularly to keep it up to date with changes in the law, and in response to feedback from users. Following the latest stakeholder review and a learning and improvement review, a new version (Version 5) of the Standard was launched in June 2013 at the London Eel Conference. Download the Sustainable Eel Standard in English or Français.

The activities and procedures for developing and reviewing the SEG Standard are described in summary in the SEG Standard Development, and in more detail in the Sustainable Eel Group Standard Development Procedure.

Comments on the Standard are welcome at any time. If you wish to comment, please complete this simple form and send it to

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