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), the recruitment level (the number of baby eel produced each year) is only 1 % of what it was before the 1980s. According to EU legislation, EU countries need 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
- restocking suitable inland waters with young eel.
In addition, EU countries which catch glass eel (juvenile eel less than 12 cm long) need to reserve 35 % of their catch for restocking within the EU. This figure will increase to at least 60 % by 2013. The Commission has adopted all plans submitted by 19 EU countries, plus a joint plan for the Minho River.
European eel is listed on Annex II of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species). Based on the recommendations of the Scientific Review Group comprising experts from EU Member States, international trade of European eel into and out of the EU is currently prohibited.
List of national eel management plans
Published Eel Management Plans available online
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