European eel is on the IUCN and EU Red lists as Critically Endangered New rules which will prohibit the commercial fishing of eels from saltwater sources in Denmark will come into effect from 01 October 2023

The European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee has urged EU member states to better follow rules on eel stock management

Member States Urged to Enhance Adherence to EU Rules for Eel Stock Management

European Parliament Fisheries Committee Passes Resolution with 17 Votes in Favour

  • Eel Regulation needs to be recognised as the main instrument for eel management
  • Remove barriers for eel migration
  • Fight illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing
  • 17 votes in favour and 4 abstentions

In a bid to safeguard the dwindling European eel population, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) on the Fisheries Committee have adopted a resolution pressing EU member states to adhere more diligently to existing EU regulations. The resolution advocates for a more systematic approach to eel stock management, emphasizing the need to dispel ad-hoc decision-making and instead implement restrictions on eel fishing within a national plan framework. Such decisions should rely on the most up-to-date scientific data available, and to support fishers, compensation should be provided.

The European eel stock is currently at alarmingly low levels and is officially classified as “critically endangered.” As part of the initiative to protect the species, the Fisheries Committee is urging the removal of outdated dams and other migration barriers that obstruct the eels’ migratory routes. Their free movement and secure migration corridors are of paramount importance. Additionally, EU member states are encouraged to replace or modify water pumps and hydro-power stations to ensure they are eel-friendly.

Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing is identified as a major threat to the eel population. The resolution calls for enhanced coordination among various entities, including customs, police, fisheries control, and scientific bodies, to combat IUU fishing more effectively. To further fortify eel stock management, MEPs are also pushing for the rapid implementation of the recently approved Fisheries Control Regulation.

 

Background

The European eel is a migratory species with a remarkable and unique life cycle. Traveling from the Northwest Atlantic to various coastal regions and continental waters, the eels undergo an extraordinary journey from their spawning phase to the pre-reproductive stage.

The decline of European eels on a global scale results from a combination of natural factors and human activities that affect the stock and its habitats at different life stages. The Eel Regulation, which was adopted in 2007, aims to facilitate the recovery of the eel stock to 40% compared to pristine conditions while reducing mortality.

This regulation mandates that EU member states establish national eel management plans and regularly report back to the Commission regarding the monitoring, effectiveness, and outcomes of these plans. Initially, countries were supposed to submit these reports every three years, but adherence has waned over time. The resolution passed by the Fisheries Committee seeks to reinvigorate these efforts by promoting stricter enforcement of existing regulations and more effective eel stock management.

 

Source: Press Release

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