LONDON, May 31, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --
European eel scientists, conservationists and industry delegates gathered today in London to discuss solutions for sustainable management of the European eel stocks. One of the biggest challenges is to ban illegal trafficking of the precious species to Asia. The Sustainable Eel Group (SEG) has made an extensive study into the last 6 months of trade in glass eels and has identified a vast gap between the legitimate sales within Europe and the declared catch.
Since 2009, national Eel Management Plans were developed in all Western-European countries, and since 2010, any export of eel from the EU has been banned completely. Nevertheless, illegal trade and trafficking exported over 100 million live eels - the greater part of the total catch of young recruits in Europe.
Ricardo Serrao Santos, MEP for the Azores and Commissioner for the Sargasso Sea Commission with Andrew Kerr, Chairman of the Sustainable Eel Group, called upon the legally responsible authorities (all national authorities and the European Commission) to stop the illegal export, by signing an official declaration.
Mr. Santos: "Illegal trafficking is jeopardising Europe's eel protection plans. That is why we plea, in line with the EU Action Plan Against Wildlife Trafficking, to fully implement the measures as agreed in the European Eel Regulation and/or the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species."
Mr. Kerr: "To enforce the ban on export of the European eel effectively, the government should implement a system that makes tracking and tracing of all live eels possible. Well-regulated trade can contribute positively to the conservation of species. Such a system is already designed within the Sustainable Eel Standard. We strongly advise its application."
During the conference it became clear that the European eel sector has been working steadily towards full transparency of the chain of custody in the past 5 years. All activities of the sector are based on the philosophy that full transparency enables sustainable use of the stock. Eel scientist Doctor Willem Dekker presented an analysis of the effectiveness of international steering models for governing of the eel across Europe. Working together - on both short and long term solutions - between stakeholders is the only way to achieve adequate protection of the stock.
SOURCE The Sustainable Eel Group