Joint EIFAAC/ICES/GFCM Working Group on Eels



WGEELWGEELTrueAlan WalkerACOMalan.walker@cefas.co.uk75Joint EIFAAC/ICES/GFCM Working Group on Eels


The main aim of the Joint EIFAAC/ICES/GFCM Working Group on Eels (WGEEL) is to report on the status of the European eel stocks and provide advice to support development and implementation of EC Regulation No. 1100/2007 for eel stock recovery.

The group brings together a network of key national and agency eel scientists covering the North Atlantic, North Sea, Baltic, Mediterranean and North African areas and links with scientists from North America, Asia and Australasia to provide annual stock assessment and observation on the status of the stock (including recruitment trends), updates on eel stock assessment methods, technical support to MSs for local assessments and eel management, and the latest information on the latest eel science developments pertinent to the objectives. WGEEL is also developing a framework for post-evaluation of the outcome of management actions and implementation of a European Council Regulation (EC No. 1100/2007) on the status of the whole stock. WGEEL is listed in the EU DCF as an international expert group providing the basis for scientific advice and supported by DCF funding.

WGEEL also provides up-to-date (annual) best available scientific advice under ICES /EU Memorandum of Understanding as well as scientific support to the EU Regulation for the Recovery of the Eel Stock and scientific support for the EU determination of non-detrimental findings for the trade of eel  with respect to CITES listings.

The eel stock is in decline, recruitment is at an all time low, and exploitation of the stock is currently unsustainable. ICES have advised that all anthropogenic mortality (e.g. recreational and commercial fishing, hydropower, and 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 and the EU have implemented Regulation (EC No. 1100/2007) for the recovery of the stock.  The EU Regulation requires Member States to put in place approved eel management plans and to monitor their implementation and outcomes. Eel has been listed as critically endangered by IUCN and as an Annex II species in CITES. 

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