Plans to save the European eel

Industry Database

A report on the measures taken by EU countries to ensure the recovery of European eel has been issued by the European Commission.

After scientific evaluation of national progress reports, the Commission's report concludes that whilst measures on controlling fisheries have been fully implemented, more needs to be done to manage other human activities and improve river habitats.

Despite a significant increase in the number of baby eel produced since 2011, the population at all stages of adult eels remains very low. The Commission's report, issued to the European Parliament and Council, includes a number of recommendations to improve the effectiveness of the eel regulation and ensure that the situation can improve further.

The stock's critical situation led to the 2007 Eel Regulation under which Member States with eel habitats in their territory must prepare and implement national eel management plans. According to the legislation, EU countries must take measures that allow 40 % of adult eels to escape from inland waters to the sea, where they can spawn.

To demonstrate how they intend to meet the target, EU countries have drawn up national eel management plans at river-basin level. In their plans, EU countries propose measures such as limiting fisheries, making it easier for fish to migrate through the rivers, and restocking suitable inland waters with young eel.

European eel is listed on Annex II of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species). International trade of European eel into and out of the EU is currently prohibited.

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