On a ban of fishing for eels in order to save the European Eel (Anguilla anguilla) from extinction in Europe

The European Anglers Alliance (EAA), representing 11 European nations and over 3 million affiliated anglers, held its 13th General Assembly in Greenwich, United Kingdom. The EAA discussed the serious decline of the European eel (Anguilla anguilla) in European waters and put forward a new European eel resolution *. 

Concerning the European eel:
  1. EAA believes that the European eel is a species threatened by extinction.
  2. Recruitment of elvers declined through the 20th century. Alarmingly, in 2007, elver numbers are now at only 1 to 2 % of what they were in the 1980s.
  3. In some areas eels suffers from parasites Anguillicolla crassus and/or pollution from hazardous substances (e.g. dioxins, PCBs) 
  4. Is a species under heavy fishing pressure at all its life stages 

The EAA recognizes that:

  • Many things need be done to improve the eel habitats, and many obstacles in the eels’ migration routes need being removed or altered by national governments 
  • A European Eel Management Plan was adopted by national fisheries Ministers recently 
  • Every EU Member State has to create and implement a national eel management plan 
  • Eels were recently put on the CITES list Appendix II 
  • ICES find the European Eel Management Plan ‘escape to open sea‘ target is too low 
  • EAA finds that these European measures propose ‘too little too late’ 

The EAA calls for:
  1. Stop, as soon as possible, all fishing for eels at all its life stages 
  2. Compulsory release of all eel by-catches 
  3. Stop all commercial fisheries for eel, with potential compensation for loss of income 
  4. Stop all sales and export of eels and elvers 
  5. Fishing for eels and elvers should only be allowed for recovery purposes (e.g. tagging and re-stocking) 
* The resolution was adopted by 21 out of 27 votes. Germany voted against; Switzerland abstained

October 2007


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