Accelerating the recovery of the European Eel

SEG’s perspective on EC’s announcement to ban eel fishing in the Baltic Sea

London, 31 August 2017. The European Eel is the most wide-spread fish stock in Europe, an appreciated food resource, and an important element in biodiversity of inland and coastal ecosystems. Following a steep decline in eel abundance in past decades, SEG works hard for its protection and sustainable use, in co-operation between all stakeholders, and all countries in Europe and beyond.

In 2007, the European Union adopted a protection plan (Council Regulation (EC) No 1100/2007). Ten years later, the sad observation is that many EU countries have only partially and reluctantly implemented a sustainable management regime. In line with the Council Regulation, the Sustainable Eel Group sees the need step up action for the recovery of the eel. Therefore, the Sustainable Eel Group (SEG) supports the European Commission in taking this initiative to stop eel fishing in the international waters of the Baltic. This proposal is clearly stirring up the long-awaited discussions.

SEG was formed by leaders from the scientific, conservation and commercial sectors to bring about the eel’s recovery so that the close human relationship with the eel, its traditions and culture can continue to be enjoyed by humankind. Together with partners, we have been championing and delivering conservation programmes in many countries – from unblocking migration pathways, restoring wetlands and screening water intakes.

SEG aims for adequate protection and sustainable use of the eel, all over its distribution area. The existing deadlock in achieving the objectives of the Eel Regulation, the lack of progress in reducing human impacts, and the problematic international coordination require urgent attention. In 2018, new assessments of the state of the stock will be made, enabling a critical evaluation of the current situation. SEG will welcome a broad discussion on objectives, means and achievements, and hopes that the Commission’s current proposals will contribute to that.

Access Press release from 29 August 2017, European Commission