EU fisheries ministers have determined to keep up glass eel fishing for 2023, in a choice that has been welcomed by the trade however goes towards calls from the European Fee and environmental organisations to ban the follow.
Learn the unique French article right here.
EU ministers agreed to the fishing quotas for 2023 after two days of negotiations on Tuesday (13 December).
Quotas relating to eels – significantly, the costly glass eel sort, for which fishing has grow to be more and more controversial – had been additionally agreed upon.
“This settlement is passable for France,” stated the state secretary for the ocean Hervé Berville on the finish of the negotiations on Tuesday.
“The result’s constructive for Spain,” echoed Spanish fisheries minister Luis Planas.
The Fee, nonetheless, could be very unlikely to seek out the settlement passable.
On the finish of October, the EU’s government physique stated it favoured a complete ban on glass eel fishing in Atlantic and Mediterranean waters primarily based on a research from the Worldwide Council for the Exploration of the Sea which known as for a complete fishing ban for 2023.
Glass eel fishing is a vital commerce for France with over 600 French fishermen fishing for the endangered species within the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. Forward of the UK, Spain and Portugal, France accounts for round 65-70% of European manufacturing.
Only some European international locations, corresponding to Eire and Norway, have banned fishing the delicacy of their waters.
In 2008, the Worldwide Union for Conservation of Nature pointed to the worrying state of the species, classifying them as “critically endangered”.
In accordance with the European Eel Alliance, a coalition of round 100 environmental NGOs, the biomass presently recorded is barely 1-3% of the baseline biomass.
Carried by the Gulf Stream, these younger eels return to the rivers to develop up, after having been born within the Sargasso Sea within the North Atlantic. They then return to the Sargasso Sea to breed a couple of years later.
Excellent news for the sector and ministers
The choice is sweet information for the sector, whose fishermen proceed to fish for glass eels in France, Spain and to a lesser extent in Denmark, and Belgium.
The six-month ban on “industrial fishing and leisure fishing in marine waters throughout the migration interval”, introduced by EU Fisheries Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius at a press convention after the negotiations, will begin from 1 March 2023 -meaning it can barely affect the sector.
The fishing “season spans roughly from November to March. It doesn’t price something to shut then,” in response to Philippe Garcia, president of the Affiliation for the Defence of Aquatic Environments.
“What the Fee was suggesting was a six-month ban, centred on the season, on the fishing interval, which has nothing to do with it,” he added.
In its proposal, the EU government states that the “six-month fishing closure ought to […] cowl the principle migration interval for glass eels and silver eels, respectively”.
France’s fisheries ministry additionally expressed reduction in a assertion. “Whereas he shares the scientists’ evaluation of the very poor state of the eel, the Secretary of State opposed the options proposed by the European Fee, which beneficial a complete closure of this fishery within the Atlantic and the Mediterranean,” it reads.
Earlier than the negotiations, French secretary Berville stated that it is crucial for financial exercise to proceed on the coast.
“We’re grateful to Hervé Berville for having fairly merely saved the French Eel Administration Plan that the career has been implementing for 13 years,” Olivier Le Nezet, President of the French Nationwide Committee for Sea Fisheries and Marine Breeding, stated on Tuesday night (13 December).
To satisfy the EU’s eel inventory restoration targets, France developed an Eel Administration Plan in 2009 which, since 2013, limits glass eel catching by 60% and obliges fishermen to restock 60% of their catch. Consumption at present represents solely 40% of what’s fished.
🇪🇺 En el marco del Consejo Europeo de Ministros de Agricultura y Pesca, he mantenido una reunión con el secretario de Estado del Mar francés, @HerveBerville
🇪🇸🇫🇷 Tenemos intereses compartidos, como la petición de cuotas plurianuales, la anguila europea o el Mediterráneo pic.twitter.com/eqA18jwzbe
— Luis Planas Puchades (@LuisPlanas) December 11, 2022
‘Final nail within the coffin’
Nevertheless, whereas fishermen additionally level to river fragmentation, air pollution and poaching affecting the eel species, environmental associations primarily blame overfishing.
“The Council of the EU is blatantly ignoring its authorized obligation, set out within the Widespread Fisheries Coverage, to revive and preserve all fish populations above sustainable ranges (CFP),” in response to the NGO Oceana Europe.
For Jenni Grossmann, ClientEarth’s science and coverage advisor on fisheries, EU ministers are in complete ‘denial’ of the science, including that their determination “may effectively show to be the ultimate nail within the coffin of this critically endangered species”.
Each organisations additionally stated that the Council’s selections go towards the EU regulation whose intention is to make sure an escape charge to the ocean of at the least 40% of the biomass of silver eels which might be prepared to breed.
“For restocking to work, the grownup eel must attain the ocean, however it’s usually fished earlier than that. A research has additionally proven that fifty% of restocking glass eels die inside three months of fishing. Half of them won’t ever see the ocean once more,” Garcia added.
[Edited by Nathalie Weatherald]