European Commission proposes banning eel fishing in Baltic Sea
The European eel is a critically endangered fish species. Their population has declined 95% in the past three decades. Efforts to protect the eel have so far been unsuccessful. This is why stricter measures are needed to safeguard the endangered species. To prevent the species from going extinct, the European Commission proposes banning eel fishing in the Baltic Sea.
Experts say the European eel is a unique fish that has lived from prehistoric times. It has even survived multiple ice ages. Unfortunately, humans have had a devastating impact on them. A ban on eel fishing may be the chance to save this species.
Experts of World Wide Fund for Nature say that such a decision from the European Commission is welcome. Nevertheless, further steps should be considered as well. This means establishing a full ban on eel fishing in Europe and Northern Africa. Also, every EU member state would have to perform internal measures to preserve eels, such as establishing migration corridors for eels around hydroelectric dams.
«Because eels produce offspring only in Sargasso Sea, artificial breeding is out of the question. Whenever eel offspring are released in Latvia’s waters only means they will be caught on their way to Sargasso Sea and later transported back to Latvia. Eel population in Latvia will not grow from that,» says WWFN Baltic Sea programme manager in Latvia Elina Kolate.
She continues: «Excessive fishing, illegal trade, climate change, pollution and fragmentation of rivers threaten eels. If we want to preserve this species, we have to ban its fishing in the Baltic Sea until the population recovers sufficiently. It is not enough for EC to establish a ban – every member state, including Latvia, should take measures.»