2014 No Glass Eel Season is Ever the Same.
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No Season is Ever the Same 

2013 has been a very busy year for us. The construction of the two new sites one in France and the other in the UK has been particularly demanding. At least the two depots are now complete for the start of the new season.
We have not only made significant progress with our restocking program in England and Wales this summer but also have had positive radio and TV coverage.  Earlier in the year the fishermen donated 700,000 glass eels. We also contributed another 350,000. In total more than a million glass eels/juveniles have been released   free of charge for restocking projects managed by the Sustainable Eel Group and Severn and Wye’s  “Eels in Schools project”.  
The first river to open in France was the Adour on November 1st and to everyone’s surprise all the consumption quota had been utilised by November 12th.
I have pasted the link to the official journal below.;jsessionid=?cidTexte=JORFTEXT000028172915&dateTexte=&oldAction=dernierJO&categorieLien=id
This is the first hard evidence that the glass eel recruitment in France is quite good this year. For comparison purposes similar declaration was not made in the official journal until about the 6th of January 2013 last season.
The glass eel fishery next to our depot will open on Friday 15th November. We will have a further indication of the overall level of recruitment.
This only confirms that no glass eel season is ever the same from year to year.
For those of you that are looking to prepare for the time when sustainable eels are to be introduced into the market place I suspect that this year might be an opportunity to build a sustainable standing stock.
The glass eel market is in crisis and in spite of Christmas being not far away it would appear that the Spanish processors are unable to absorb all the available stock.  The fishermen are now blockading the port. See links below.
It will be interesting to see how the French Government intends to resolve the issue.  With the European eel sector facing some severe problem increasing the quota will not address the problems in France.  The only effective solution is to allow exports to Asia.  I think it is unlikely that France will unilaterally disregard the CITES agreement and issue a non-detrimental finding for exports outside the EU. This has implications for the whole sector not just France. 
If the present situation continues then it is inevitable that prices will fall.
So for those of you requiring stock to start a sustainable program there will be an opportunity to purchase SEG certified glass eels at prices not normally achieved so early in the season.   It will be a few more days before we can see where the price will settle.
However these certified SEG fish are only available from Garonne-Dordogne- -Seudre-Leyre – Arcachon river basin areas.   The total available quota for consumption is approximately 4000 kgs in this region.  For those people requiring fish for restocking there is no problem but in the present climate it is likely that this consumption quota will be utilised quickly. 
Of course there will be consumption quota available for non SEG fish in the Northern rivers. 
I hope to meet some you again on the 27th and 28th November.

Peter Wood and UK Glass Eels.

A few photos of some of our restocking projects this year.