The European Anglers Alliance (EAA) has discussed the continuing decline of the European eel in European waters and has taken a draft resolution which is being conveyed to European authorities.
Many factors contribute to this decline but there are solutions for the long-term survival of the eel.

During its last general assembly, in Leipzig in April, The EAA stated that eel stocks across Europe have shown a continued decline for many years in all European waters. One contributing factor is the increasing pressure from commercial exploitation by netting, often illegally, at all stages of the life-cycle to supply the international trade across Europe and the Far East in both elvers and eels.
The decline has been accelerated with increased pressures on breeding stocks from loss of habitat, obstruction to migration and the possible effects of parasites (Anguillicola crassus).
If measures are not implemented rapidly the long-term survival of the species will be threatened.
For many years there has been relatively little information on the complex life cycle of freshwater eels, despite the fact that this species plays a major role within the aquatic ecosystem and in particular in marshland where it provides a major source of food for both the Grey Heron (Aredea cinerea) and the Bittern (Botaurus stellaris) and many others species of water bird.

Increased monitoring and study are needed in order to fully assess current European stocks, and to plan the future management of this unique species.
The European Anglers Alliance requests:
– Increased cooperation across
Europe
to introduce measures that will contribute to, and secure, the long term survival of the eel.
– Restrictions to limit the numbers of nets within commercial fisheries particularly in areas which show continued declines in populations. These recommendations apply to all stages of the eel cycle.
– Measures to facilitate the upstream migration of elvers and downstream migration of mature eels.
– Introduction of a restocking programme for elvers into areas currently with low population density due to migration obstruction, or zones where there is a decline in populations due to over-exploitation of mature eels.
– Increased funding for survey work to accurately assess eel population dynamics to improve monitoring of current stocks and the effects of the various management action plans.
– Increased funding to intensify the fight against illegal netsmen.
– Introduction of legislation to require all sales and exports of elvers and eels to be conducted by licensed registered dealers.
– Recognition and protection of the role of the eel in the ecosystem of the aquatic environment. A commitment to include the protection of eel stocks in wider plans to promote aquatic biodiversity (
Rio
plans, EU Habitats and Freshwater Fisheries Directives).
– Increased research into Anguillicola crassus to determine the impact on populations and in particular the survival of mature migrating eels.
– Management plans at river basin level (Water framework directive), to increase numbers of eels leaving for reproduction.

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