There is now a further proposal, council regulation 654/2017, which originally set out to prohibit any fishery of European eel (greater than 12 cms) in 2018 in the Baltic Sea, now has been extended to all Union waters of the ICES area. The justification of course being the ICES advice that all anthropogenic impacts should be reduced to – or kept as close to – zero as possible. Rather than the bureaucrat’s becoming part of the polarized opinion it would be better if they concentrated on the key problems. It would appear that those organisations that are involved with water management, flood defenses and power generation seem to be able to continue to operate without let or hindrance. Targeting spawners as a solution to the problem is a futile exercise unless some of the key problems are addressed.
The proposal for this new regulation came as a surprise. We should as all be very wary of organisations operating behind closed doors where there is a lack of transparency and no stakeholder involvement. It is disappointing that SEG was unable to feel that it could hold the authors of this regulation to account.
We see a salami approach to managing the recovery of the eel. The next part of the process, once the Baltic deal is agreed will be to restrict the fishing of eels (less than 12 cms) in ICES waters and finally the closure of the aquaculture sector.
Many of us accept that there are grounds for concern for eel stocks and the overall survivability of larval stocks at sea is very variable the reasons for this have little to do with fishing.