The European eel is listed as critically endangered in Annex II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). They used to be found across EU waters (including in the Baltic) but are now found mostly in the rivers of Atlantic EU countries and in the Mediterranean.
The last 20 years have seen a dramatic decline in the number of eels reaching European rivers and have fallen to as little as 1% of their previous levels according to some estimates.
The critical situation of the European eel is due to various causes, including:
In 2007, the EU adopted specific measures to bring about the recovery of the eel stock. As a result, eel fisheries are now managed under long-term plans drawn up by EU countries. Since 2018 temporary fishing closures apply at EU level.
The EU's objectives are:
National management plans
Regulation: establishing measures for the recovery of European eel
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Summaries of EU legislation:
Capraia is a small island in the upper Tyrrhenian Sea, in the Tuscan Archipelago National Park between Italy and the island of Corsica. Measuring just 8 km by 4 km and located about 70 km off the coast of Tuscany, the Capraia is home to about 300 people.
The Cabo de Palos Marine Reserve is the oldest marine reserve in the region of Murcia, Spain. Its status as a protected area since 1995 has favoured a thriving marine life. Murcia is a region of exceptional marine biodiversity, which enjoys a high level of protection, including 12 Natura 2000 sites and two Marine Protected Areas (MPA).
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