EC demands new legislation to save European eel

The EC said this week that fresh legislation is urgently needed to save the European eel stock. In a resolution this week, MEPs said that European eel stocks have declined by at least 95% in the past three decades . MEPs urge the European Commission to implement sanctions against EU member states that are not providing the data required to assess the European Eel stocks in their rivers, lakes and transition waters.

It was heard that too little is being done to save the critically endangered eel. That is why the European Parliament calls on the Commission to present a new legislative proposal aimed at the recovery of European eel. It was heard that the new law must close the loopholes in the current legislation which have led to the continued overfishing and unsustainable trade in this endangered species.

Shannon eels (5)

Isabella Lövin said “Eels are in a seriously precarious state across Europe and urgent action is needed to prevent a severe decline. The EP has today called for urgent EU regulatory action to address this, calling on the Commission to come forward with a new EU regulation to this end.

She also said that “the status of the European eel stock remains critical and with the European eel now a critically endangered species, urgent remedial action is needed. In the last three decades, the number of eels returning to their spawning grounds has dropped by over 95% in key European grounds. Scientific advice from International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) states that the stock is at a historic low and that there are no signs of recovery. ICES recommends that, for eel stocks to recover, fisheries and other human activities affecting the stock should be reduced to as close to zero as possible.”

MEPs ask the Commission to evaluate current restocking measures before the end of the year, paying special attention to how much they really contribute to eel recovery. The results of this evaluation will inform the Commission’s new legislative proposal which must aim to achieve the recovery of the European eel stock. Current measures are not enough it was heard.  The MEPs also voted to ensure member states  report more often on the impact of eel stock management measures – once every two years instead of once every sixth year as is currently the case. Member states which do not comply with the reporting and evaluation requirements would be obliged to significantly reduce their eel fishing effort. For more on this see the press release below:-