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Eels – Call for Commercial Fishing Ban


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The ATr has renewed its call for an urgent ban on the commercial fishing of eels and elvers The ATr has renewed its call for an urgent ban on the commercial fishing of eels and elvers

Following the prosecution of an angler for killing eels by the EA last week, the Angling Trust has renewed its call for an urgent ban on the commercial fishing of eels and elvers.








The Angling Trust agreed to support a ban on the taking of eels by rod and line three years ago, asking at the same time for a complete ban on the commercial exploitation of the stock.  Eels have a lifecycle of between 10 and 40 years and very little is known about the factors affecting their numbers so it is just not possible to know whether a commercial harvest is sustainable. The species is a vital part of the aquatic ecosystem and a favourite food of cormorants and otters and it is thought that the decline in eels may have contributed to increased predation on other fish species.

Eels are highly valuable commercially and it is thought that far more eels and elvers are taken than the licences allow.  The continued licensed commercial fishing of eels and elvers makes enforcement more difficult; if it were banned entirely then anglers would be able much more easily to report any eel or elver fishing as being illegal.

The Trust's view is that elvers should only be caught for the purpose of supporting dedicated re-stocking programmes.

The 2007 EC Eel Regulation required member states to develop and implement eel management plans to restore the escapement of silver eels to at least 40% of historic, ‘pristine’ levels.  Plans were published in 2009 covering each of the 11 river basin districts in England and Wales. The EC Regulation required states to report on the latest condition of eel stocks and on progress in delivering the management plans in 2012 and at 3-yearly (until 2018) then 6-yearly intervals.

Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust and Fish Legal said:

 "We were recently asked for a view of the Environment Agency's eel management plans at the England and Wales Fisheries Group which oversees the work of the Agency in this area and we emphatically called again for an end to commercial netting and trapping of all eels and elvers.

There is some good work being done by the Agency to build fish passes and to stop eels being sucked into water intakes, but its value is diminished because they are still being slaughtered and exported.  To prosecute an angler for killing three eels while licensing the harvest of many tonnes of eels each year by commercial fisheries is wrong.  All commercial fishing for eels and elvers must stop, and it must stop now."

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Comments (6 posted):

little oik on 30/01/2013 15:30:46
This has been the case for 3 yrs over here.(Ban on eel fishing reviewed | Irish Examiner ) Apart from a couple of licenses to allow commercial fishing for them so they can be returned down at the bottom of the Shannon. This is due to a kin great power station (Google Image Result for [url=http://www.esb.ie/main/img/2.3.1_Ardnacrusha_800x600.jpg]http://www.esb.ie/main/img/2.3.1_Ardnacrusha_800x600.jpg. as the Eels cannot get by this to get back to the sea . How the ban is working so far I do not think anyone can tell as yet .Just hope they do not raise the ban till they can definitely say that it is.
Jeff Woodhouse on 30/01/2013 16:04:12
This is due to a kin great power station A hydro plant, no doubt? They should have put in an eel pass. Seems daft when anglers can no longer catch and take eels to allow commercial netsmen to take them? I blame it on the Cockneys eel and mash... Urghhhh!:puke:
geoffmaynard on 30/01/2013 16:08:52
Oi, watch it Geezer! :) I think its a disgrace that commercial eel fishing is encouraged whilst stocks have crashed to the point that anglers are not allowed to fish for them.(They still sell licences for Severn elver fishing I believe??)
tiinker on 30/01/2013 18:14:04
I think there are still licenced eel trappers on the tidal Thames so the cockneys have nice fresh eels to stew and even better jelly:eek:
little oik on 31/01/2013 13:10:55
A hydro plant, no doubt? They should have put in an eel pass. This was back in the day when " who gives a toss there are plenty more where they came from "(unless they were Salmon and Trout). Finally they are actually seeing sense now as its a downward spiral ,less fish around does sort of impact on tourism amongst other things . Ps There are salmon Ladders in the most out of the places, even on a canal for gods sake (EU grants gone doo lally) but lets not go there ay :confused:
Jeff Woodhouse on 31/01/2013 14:22:55
There are salmon Ladders in the most out of the places,Yes, but not the same as an eel pass, they have lots of brushes on the bottom to help the eels wriggle up and down. On any hydro development in this country now they must plan for a fish pass and an eel pass.

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angling trust, Eels, eel fishing