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European Eel Stock Status Remains Critical

04 December 2012

GLOBAL - The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) has published advice on European eel.

The status of eel remains critical and urgent action is needed. ICES reiterates its previous advice that all anthropogenic mortality (e.g. recreational and commercial fishing, hydropower, pollution) affecting production and escapement of eels should be reduced to as close to zero as possible until there is clear evidence that both recruitment and the adult stock are increasing.

The abundance of juvenile eels has been declining continuously since the 1950s. ICES scientists have concluded that the eel recruitment index (a measure of recent spawning success) is at a historical low at around 5 per cent and less than 1 per cent for the North Sea compared to 1960–1979.

The current ICES assessment of the eel stock is based on national fish stock surveys and indications from commercial catches. In the recent past, monitoring the abundance of juvenile eels has been the main tool for assessing the eel stock status. In the future, new analyses and compilations of data on the adult eel stock may be available, which are expected to improve the assessment in 2013.

The full advice text on European eel is available on the ICES website.

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