Status of eel stock remains critical

ICES has advised that the European eel stock remains critical ICES has advised that the European eel stock remains critical. Credit: Reaperman

The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) has published its advice on European eel - the status the stock remains critical and urgent action is needed.

ICES is reiterating its previous advice that all recreational and commercial fishing, hydropower, and pollution that affect production and escapement of eels should be reduced to as close to zero as possible until there is clear evidence that both recruitment and the adult stock are increasing.

The abundance of juvenile eels has been declining continuously since the 1950s. ICES scientists have concluded that the eel recruitment index (a measure of recent spawning success) is at a historical low at around 5% and less than 1% for the North Sea compared to 1960–1979.

The current ICES assessment of the eel stock is based on national fish stock surveys and indications from commercial catches. In the recent past, monitoring the abundance of juvenile eels has been the main tool for assessing the eel stock status. In the future, new analyses and compilations of data on the adult eel stock may be available, which are expected to improve the assessment in 2013.

The full advice text on European eel is available on the ICES website.

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