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INSEPARABLE - Eat, Buy and Sell Sustainable FishINSEPARABLE - Eat, Buy and Sell Sustainable FishINSEPARABLE - Eat, Buy and Sell Sustainable FishINSEPARABLE - Eat, Buy and Sell Sustainable Fish

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Implementation of the Second Cycle of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive: achieving coherent, coordinated and consistent updates of the determinations of Good Environmental Status, initial assessments and environmental targets.
The 21st Session of the Fishery Committee for the Central Eastern Atlantic (CECAF) was held in Dakar, Senegal from 20 to 22 April 2016 with the participation of 23 Member countries, including the European Union, as well as observers from different regional and sub-regional fisheries organisations, cooperation agencies and NGOs. The Committee had last met in March 2012.

National eel management plans

The European eel (Anguilla anguilla) stock is severely depleted. According to estimates from the International Council for Exploration of the Seas (ICES), until 2011, the recruitment level of glass eels (the number of baby eel produced each year) was only 1 % of what it was before the 1980s. Despite a statistically significant increase in glass eels recruitment since 2011, the abundance of eels at all the stages of their lifecycle remains very low.

According to EU legislation, EU countries need to take measures that allow 40 % of adult eels to escape from inland waters to the sea, where they can spawn. In order to meet this 40% escapement target, EU countries with eel habitats in their territory have drawn up and are currently implementing national eel management plans at river-basin level. In their plans, EU countries propose measures, such as

  • limiting (professional and recreational) fisheries;
  • making it easier for fish to migrate through the rivers
  • restocking suitable inland waters with young eel.

In addition, EU countries which catch glass eels (juvenile eel less than 12 cm long) need to reserve 60 % of their catches for restocking within the EU. The Commission has adopted all plans submitted by 19 EU countries, plus a joint plan for the Minho River.

European eel is also listed on Annex II of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species). Based on the annual recommendations of the Scientific Review Group comprising experts from EU countries, international trade of European eel into and out of the EU is currently prohibited until the end of 2015.


Council Regulation (EC) 1100/2007, establishing measures for the recovery of the stock of European eel

Report on the outcome of the implementation of the Eel Management Plans, including an evaluation of the measures concerning restocking and of the evolution of market prices for eels less than 12 cm in length (21/10/2014)