CCB welcomes EU Commission proposal to ban fishing for eel in the Baltic Sea

The European Eel is a critically endangered fish species with a dramatic stock size decline the past 30 years.  Conservation efforts have so far failed to deliver and scientific experts have repeatedly called for drastic management measures. Today the EU Commission presented a proposal to ban all fishing for eel in the Baltic Sea. CCB very much welcome this proposal and call upon all Member States to complete this eel fishing ban in all of theirs waters, combined with other conservation efforts.

The European eel is a fantastic fish, a survivor from pre-historic times and it has lived through several ice ages. Human impact on the eel stock has been devastating and conservation efforts have so far been insufficient. The stock has declined rapidly and from being very common in most Baltic Sea Region coasts, lakes and streams, the eel is now rare and the reproduction has fallen almost 98%. In an attempt to give more adult eels the chance to spawn, the EU Commission is now proposing to stop fishing on eel in Baltic Sea waters.

-This is very good news for the eel, and a welcome and strong signal from the Commission that more must be done to protect eel, says Mikhail Durkin, Executive Secretary of the Coalition Clean Baltic (CCB)

The environmental NGOs have for years demanded that eel must be treated like other threatened fish species and under current circumstances, with a collapse of the eel stock, allowing targeted fishing is simply unacceptable. We risk losing this fish right in front of our eyes by not acting on the clear advice given by scientific experts. The EU Commission has now taken action and with the proposal to stop fishing on eel, the chance for the eel to recover increases. We support this proposal and want to underline that regardless of where and how, all eel fishing must be stopped until the population shows signs of recovery. It is regretful that closing a fishery will affect fishermen but it should have been done years ago and it does not make sense to build a business on a threatened species. We must also stress that upstream measures such as removing dams and opening dams during migration season for eel is absolutely necessary. Its time dam owners pay their debts to the eels. Likewise we believe that in the Baltic Sea Region it is important to address all countries in the catchment area with equivalent management response to protect the European eel, as provided for by the EU Water Framework Directive and the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan (2007), as well as various global legal acts.

-We call upon all Members States in the EU to honor their commitment to protect eel, uphold the EU fishing and environmental rules as well as international agreements to stop the loss of biodiversity says Nils Höglund, Fisheries Policy Office at CCB

Read the full proposal from the European Commission here


Contact:  Nils Höglund, policy officer CCB  +46 708 679 249;

Mikhail Durkin, Exec. Secretary CCB +46 73 977 07 93;