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The PECH Committee requested research on the “Environmental, social and economic sustainability of European eel management” and this research was presented in a Workshop for the Committee on 19 February 2019.

During the event, the following short presentations took place:

“Current status of the European eel stock” by Prof. Dr. Reinhold Hanel:

“Why is eel management and assessment so complicated – the Spanish case” by Dr. Estibaliz Díaz:

“Economic analysis of eel fisheries management” by Dr. Ralf Döring


Finally  Reinhold Hanel presented the “Conclusions and recommendations”.


The European Parliament is the first institution that has presented a study summarizing the most up-to-date knowledge available on threats to fisheries and aquaculture (loss of habitats, illegal fishing and illegal trade), as well as the level of impact on the European eel, from the perspective of the three pillars of sustainability.

The diversity of detrimental factors, which have a huge impact on the European eel and the number of involved stakeholders, pose a challenge for effective stock management of a species with a complex migratory lifecycle (living in both sea and rivers) and whose stock is seriously threatened.

Knowledge concerning the economic consequences of single management measures is required to better assess their implications for each of the sectors involved. The study considers the economic data available from the hydropower generation, so that management measures can be evaluated and estimates made on repercussions for stakeholders.

In the EU, the current management plan and national mitigation measures appear not to have succeed. The study presented a very thorough overview of the problem and possible ways forward, in view of a revised management plan proposal from the Commission expected for later this year.

Among the main conclusions  the study  highlight that the target of the current EU Regulation ought to be changed  from the current 40% regional level escapement target to a mortality target.  Another relevant action is the need of an international traceability system for Glass Eels to be stablished to detect and follow illegal fishing and its outcomes.

Watch video of the event (with multilingual interpretation):

Further reading: Research for PECH Committee: Environmental, social and economic sustainability of European eel management

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