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The European Eel - A species under threat


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#1 chrisd1

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 10:46 AM

With the pike and zander “season” well and truly under way now, many anglers will be considering using eel section as bait. We (the National Anguilla Club) ask pike and zander anglers to think again before the purchase a pack of eel sections or kill an eel to use as bait. Whilst “one or two” mature eels taken in this way will not affect stock levels, the quantity used by significant numbers of anglers will, and buying eel sections only feeds the market. If tackle dealers find that anglers do not buy them then they will not stock them. Your refusal to eels also sends a very clear message to other anglers and non anglers that we are serious about saving the species. The extract form a recent article shown below highlights the fact that there is no sustainable source for the eel:

The European Eel Anguilla anguilla is a complex and often misunderstood species. It starts life in the Sargasso Sea where it drifts on oceanic currents before reaching European shores up to 4 years later. From here, as Elvers, they migrate into our River systems where they spend up to 50 years, feeding and growing before returning back to the Sargasso to spawn.
This long lifecycle along with some natural and anthropogenic influence makes the species susceptible to possible extinction. It is already thought that the species has declined by approximately 99% since the 1980’s. This is alarming and has raised the question as to whether Eel stocks are sustainable.

The decline of the species has been reported since the 1940’s in Northern Europe and since the 1980’s in the rest of the continental range. Scientists from Indicang (pan European Eel research group) have demonstrated that Eel stocks are in decline and in some regions, mainly in the North of its distribution area, the situation is critical. Some restocking programmes (Northern Ireland, Baltic Sea and Italian lagoons) have succeeded in sustaining local fisheries but the decline continues where stocking has not been carried out. So what are the causes of this dramatic decline?
There are two major stages of the lifecycle which affect the decline in stocks
• Elver Recruitment
• Spawner escapement
Both are linked, it is thought that a reduction in spawning stock, caused by declining Eel stocks may be sufficient to cause a recruitment collapse as in 1980. There is evidence that the decline in recruitment was preceded by a decline in Eel landings approximately 2-3 decades earlier, as the time lag roughly corresponded to the generation period for faster growing stocks. Therefore, initial stock decline could not be caused by reduced recruitment but could be a potential cause of reduced recruitment.

Causes.

Recruitment Decline
• Over Exploitation
• Changes in oceanographical conditions, possibly linked to climate change
• Reduction in accessible freshwater habitat
• Pollution
• Parasitism
Stock Decline
• Over Exploitation
• Loss of good yellow Eel habitat, loss of wetlands, pollution, over abstraction.
• Barriers to migration, physical - weirs etc and water quality and quantity.
• Reduction in Elver stocking in waters beyond normal migration range.

Eels are not bred in captivity; aquaculture relies on the collection of seed Eels (Elvers) which are then grown on. This means that the species is unsustainable as ALL Eels sold in restaurants, shops and bait suppliers have been taken from the wild initially. The European Eel is currently deemed the most at risk vertebrate in the country and is currently on the IUCN Red list.

Help us save the eel – do not use them as bait!

THANK YOU

C.Daphne

Environment Officer
National Anguilla Club

The NAC are currently working alongside the Angling Trust and the Environment agency in order to save the species.

#2 chesters1

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 10:58 AM

why don't you get elver harvesting banned after all its the root problem with stocks?
elver recruitment :bigemo_harabe_net-163:

10 thousand kilos of elvers are a lot of potential eels taken away before they even get here.

http://www.iucn-uk.o...ngresources.pdf

Edited by chesters1, 05 November 2009 - 11:05 AM.

Believe NOTHING anyones says or writes unless you witness  it yourself and even then your eyes can deceive you

 

There is only one opinion i listen to ,its mine and its ALWAYS right even when its wrong

 

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Whitby scallops caught by scottish boats best that money can buy,the nearer the shore they're dredged the better they taste


#3 Dales

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 11:41 AM

why don't you get elver harvesting banned after all its the root problem with stocks?
elver recruitment :bigemo_harabe_net-163:

10 thousand kilos of elvers are a lot of potential eels taken away before they even get here.

http://www.iucn-uk.o...ngresources.pdf


I am in agreement with chesters1, I fish for Pike and do use eels as bait from time to time. However over a season I may use 3 or 4 packs of shop bought eels for bait adding up to about 10 eels in total. A small drop in the ocean when you think about the amount of eels harvested for human consuption.

One of the best ways to protect the eel population would be if we stopped taking elvers and feel this would be a better target. Even reducing the amount taken would have a major impact on stocks. You will find that most anglers are sympathetic to the plight of eels and when they are caught they are returned. You will also find that Pike and Zander fishing are very niche fishing targets and even though millions of people fish not many target these species and of the anglers that do many will use other baits and not eels.

You may well find that the actual amount of eels used as bait may be alot less then you think.

Edited by Dales, 05 November 2009 - 11:45 AM.

Stephen

 

Species Caught 2014

Zander, Pike, Bream, Roach, Tench, Perch, Rudd, Common Carp, Mirror Carp, Eel, Grayling, Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout

Species Caught 2013

Pike, Zander, Bream, Roach, Eel, Tench, Rudd, Perch, Common Carp, Koi Carp, Brown Goldfish, Grayling, Brown Trout, Chub,  Roosterfish, Dorado, Black Grouper, Barracuda, Mangrove Snapper, Mutton Snapper, Jack Crevalle, Tarpon, Red Snapper

Species Caught 2012
Zander, Pike, Perch, Chub, Ruff, Gudgeon, Dace, Minnow, Wels Catfish, Common Carp, Mirror Carp, Ghost Carp, Roach, Bream, Eel, Rudd, Tench, Arapaima, Mekong Catfish, Sawai Catfish, Marbled Tiger Catfish, Amazon Redtail Catfish, Thai Redtail Catfish, Batrachian Walking Catfish, Siamese Carp, Rohu, Julliens Golden Prize Carp, Giant Gourami, Java Barb, Red Tailed Tin Foil Barb, Nile Tilapia, Black Pacu, Red Bellied Pacu, Alligator Gar
Species Caught 2011
Zander, Tench, Bream, Chub, Barbel, Roach, Rudd, Grayling, Brown Trout, Salmon Parr, Minnow, Pike, Eel, Common Carp, Mirror Carp, Ghost Carp, Koi Carp, Crucian Carp, F1 Carp, Blue Orfe, Ide, Goldfish, Brown Goldfish, Comet Goldfish, Golden Tench, Golden Rudd, Perch, Gudgeon, Ruff, Bleak, Dace, Sergeant Major, French Grunt, Yellow Tail Snapper, Tom Tate Grunt, Clown Wrasse, Slippery Dick Wrasse, Doctor Fish, Graysby, Dusky Squirrel Fish, Longspine Squirrel Fish, Stripped Croaker, Leather Jack, Emerald Parrot Fish, Red Tail Parrot Fish, White Grunt, Bone Fish
Species Caught 2010
Zander, Pike, Perch, Eel, Tench, Bream, Roach, Rudd, Mirror Carp, Common Carp, Crucian Carp, Siamese Carp, Asian Redtail Catfish, Sawai Catfish, Rohu, Amazon Redtail Catfish, Pacu, Long Tom, Moon Wrasse, Sergeant Major, Green Damsel, Tomtate Grunt, Sea Chub, Yellowtail Surgeon, Black Damsel, Blue Dot Grouper, Checkered Sea Perch, Java Rabbitfish, One Spot Snapper, Snubnose Rudderfish
Species Caught 2009
Barramundi, Spotted Sorubim Catfish, Wallago Leeri Catfish, Wallago Attu Catfish, Amazon Redtail Catfish, Mrigul, Siamese Carp, Java Barb, Tarpon, Wahoo, Barracuda, Skipjack Tuna, Bonito, Yellow Eye Rockfish, Red Snapper, Mangrove Snapper, Black Fin Snapper, Dog Snapper, Yellow Tail Snapper, Marble Grouper, Black Fin Tuna, Spanish Mackerel, Mutton Snapper, Redhind Grouper, Saddle Grouper, Schoolmaster, Coral Trout, Bar Jack, Pike, Zander, Perch, Tench, Bream, Roach, Rudd, Common Carp, Golden Tench, Wels Catfish
Species Caught 2008
Dorado, Wahoo, Barracuda, Bonito, Black Fin Tuna, Long Tom, Sergeant Major, Red Snapper, Black Damsel, Queen Trigga Fish, Red Grouper, Redhind Grouper, Rainbow Wrasse, Grey Trigger Fish, Ehrenbergs Snapper, Malabar Grouper, Lunar Fusiler, Two Tone Wrasse, Starry Dragonet, Convict Surgeonfish, Moonbeam Dwarf Angelfish,Bridled Monocle Bream, Redlined Triggerfish, Cero Mackeral, Rainbow Runner
Species Caught 2007
Arapaima, Alligator Gar, Mekong Catfish, Spotted Sorubim Catfish, Pacu, Siamese Carp, Barracuda, Black Fin Tuna, Queen Trigger Fish, Red Snapper, Yellow Tail Snapper, Honeycomb Grouper, Red Grouper, Schoolmaster, Cubera Snapper, Black Grouper, Albacore, Ballyhoo, Coney, Yellowfin Goatfish, Lattice Spinecheek


#4 chrisd1

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 12:54 PM

I am in agreement with chesters1, I fish for Pike and do use eels as bait from time to time. However over a season I may use 3 or 4 packs of shop bought eels for bait adding up to about 10 eels in total. A small drop in the ocean when you think about the amount of eels harvested for human consuption.

One of the best ways to protect the eel population would be if we stopped taking elvers and feel this would be a better target. Even reducing the amount taken would have a major impact on stocks. You will find that most anglers are sympathetic to the plight of eels and when they are caught they are returned. You will also find that Pike and Zander fishing are very niche fishing targets and even though millions of people fish not many target these species and of the anglers that do many will use other baits and not eels.

You may well find that the actual amount of eels used as bait may be alot less then you think.



#5 chrisd1

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 01:05 PM

So is there a need to use Eels in the first place. The point i am trying to make is that if there is a demand this will drive the market.
I agree with the point in Elver fisheries but disagree to some extent that anglers are sympathetic towards the Eel. My experience tells me that most treat them as a nuisance.
If the BBC ( masterchef etc ) can change their policies regarding using an unsustainable species why can't anglers.
If every predator angler used a couple of packs each season, not counting the ones that are killed on the bank then the tally soon adds up.
It is not my aim to have a go or anything like that i just want to make anglers aware, treat the species with a bit more respect and ask not to use them if you don't need to.
I remember a few years ago up here in Scotland when Pike were being killed everywhere just because they predated on Salmon and Trout, Pike anglers were up in arms then. I also supported the cause as i felt that evry species deserves its place in the river,lake etc. Trouble is it might not be long until the Eel is gone for good.

#6 Worms

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 01:06 PM

I am in agreement with chesters1, I fish for Pike and do use eels as bait from time to time. However over a season I may use 3 or 4 packs of shop bought eels for bait adding up to about 10 eels in total. A small drop in the ocean when you think about the amount of eels harvested for human consuption.

One of the best ways to protect the eel population would be if we stopped taking elvers and feel this would be a better target. Even reducing the amount taken would have a major impact on stocks. You will find that most anglers are sympathetic to the plight of eels and when they are caught they are returned. You will also find that Pike and Zander fishing are very niche fishing targets and even though millions of people fish not many target these species and of the anglers that do many will use other baits and not eels.

You may well find that the actual amount of eels used as bait may be alot less then you think.

I don't take eels for bait (or buy them) and I return any caught (due to the parlous state that they are in). I also think that elvering should stop or, as with salmon, the commercial side very strictly limited.
Eating wild caught fish is good for my health, reduces food miles and keeps me fit trying to catch them........it's my choice to do it, not yours to stop me!

#7 Steve Coppolo

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 02:11 PM

This effort by the NAC, Angling Trust and the EA seems like just another 'being seen to be doing something' PR excercise. Unable to tackle the real issues, because banning the taking of elvers would involve taking on the EU, once again it's the anglers who are being portrayed as a problem and targetted by the do gooders.

Look, achieve something that may actually benefit the Eel population, i.e, get the taking of elvers banned, before you start hitting the easy target. School bully comes to mind, and you know the best way to tackle a bully?
DRUNK DRIVERS WRECK LIVES.

Don't drink and drive.

#8 chrisd1

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 03:28 PM

This effort by the NAC, Angling Trust and the EA seems like just another 'being seen to be doing something' PR excercise. Unable to tackle the real issues, because banning the taking of elvers would involve taking on the EU, once again it's the anglers who are being portrayed as a problem and targetted by the do gooders.

Look, achieve something that may actually benefit the Eel population, i.e, get the taking of elvers banned, before you start hitting the easy target. School bully comes to mind, and you know the best way to tackle a bully?


It is us anglers that are trying to do something. We are pushing for bans, i wasn't portrayng anyone being a problem just highlighting the plight and raising awarenes. Like the article says there are many issues regarding the decline so why add to it. Is raising awareness bullying??

#9 Worms

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 03:35 PM

This effort by the NAC, Angling Trust and the EA seems like just another 'being seen to be doing something' PR excercise. Unable to tackle the real issues, because banning the taking of elvers would involve taking on the EU, once again it's the anglers who are being portrayed as a problem and targetted by the do gooders.

Look, achieve something that may actually benefit the Eel population, i.e, get the taking of elvers banned, before you start hitting the easy target. School bully comes to mind, and you know the best way to tackle a bully?

I didn't see Chrisd1's second post before making mine.

I think that if he had taken the time to search the forum for eel related threads he might have had a pleasant surprise.

This subject has been discussed on numerous occasions and as I recall the majority of anglers (on this forum anyway) are aware of the plight of the eel and, treat them accordingly.

chrisd1, you may want to target the Angling Times related fora. I'm sure you'll find a few people to convert on there. B)

Steve C, perhaps this is something that the MCZs will be useful for without involving the EU?
Eating wild caught fish is good for my health, reduces food miles and keeps me fit trying to catch them........it's my choice to do it, not yours to stop me!

#10 Dales

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 03:40 PM

So is there a need to use Eels in the first place. The point i am trying to make is that if there is a demand this will drive the market.
I agree with the point in Elver fisheries but disagree to some extent that anglers are sympathetic towards the Eel. My experience tells me that most treat them as a nuisance.
If the BBC ( masterchef etc ) can change their policies regarding using an unsustainable species why can't anglers.
If every predator angler used a couple of packs each season, not counting the ones that are killed on the bank then the tally soon adds up.
It is not my aim to have a go or anything like that i just want to make anglers aware, treat the species with a bit more respect and ask not to use them if you don't need to.
I remember a few years ago up here in Scotland when Pike were being killed everywhere just because they predated on Salmon and Trout, Pike anglers were up in arms then. I also supported the cause as i felt that evry species deserves its place in the river,lake etc. Trouble is it might not be long until the Eel is gone for good.


Even if my limited use of eels as bait was having an effect on eel stocks, which I don't. Taking the bigger picture in to context my fishing would have very limited impact to fish stocks over all. I fish for a number of different species and never take any thing I catch and return them all. I don't eat any fish and so in no way do I help to sustain the fishing industry that plunders the sea and gives very little back.

May I ask do you eat fish?

The greatest threat to any fish species is not the angler who uses rod and line but the large industrialised fishing industry. I think I understand your argument that if we all done our little bit it would be a start and may do some good. However I think this is a little naive and the logistics of the situation is that it is the large scale mechanical fishing industry and not the pleasure fisherman who is causing the problem.

As a matter of fact I have not used eels yet this season as bait and may not before the predator season ends, but I like to have the option if I want too. Also are the eels that end being sold as bait, the off cuts and lower grade eels not wanted for the human food chain. I all ways seem to get a unnatural amount of head ends or tail ends in a eel bait pack.

I wish you well in trying to protect the species, but feel your efforts should be directed elsewhere.

Stephen

 

Species Caught 2014

Zander, Pike, Bream, Roach, Tench, Perch, Rudd, Common Carp, Mirror Carp, Eel, Grayling, Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout

Species Caught 2013

Pike, Zander, Bream, Roach, Eel, Tench, Rudd, Perch, Common Carp, Koi Carp, Brown Goldfish, Grayling, Brown Trout, Chub,  Roosterfish, Dorado, Black Grouper, Barracuda, Mangrove Snapper, Mutton Snapper, Jack Crevalle, Tarpon, Red Snapper

Species Caught 2012
Zander, Pike, Perch, Chub, Ruff, Gudgeon, Dace, Minnow, Wels Catfish, Common Carp, Mirror Carp, Ghost Carp, Roach, Bream, Eel, Rudd, Tench, Arapaima, Mekong Catfish, Sawai Catfish, Marbled Tiger Catfish, Amazon Redtail Catfish, Thai Redtail Catfish, Batrachian Walking Catfish, Siamese Carp, Rohu, Julliens Golden Prize Carp, Giant Gourami, Java Barb, Red Tailed Tin Foil Barb, Nile Tilapia, Black Pacu, Red Bellied Pacu, Alligator Gar
Species Caught 2011
Zander, Tench, Bream, Chub, Barbel, Roach, Rudd, Grayling, Brown Trout, Salmon Parr, Minnow, Pike, Eel, Common Carp, Mirror Carp, Ghost Carp, Koi Carp, Crucian Carp, F1 Carp, Blue Orfe, Ide, Goldfish, Brown Goldfish, Comet Goldfish, Golden Tench, Golden Rudd, Perch, Gudgeon, Ruff, Bleak, Dace, Sergeant Major, French Grunt, Yellow Tail Snapper, Tom Tate Grunt, Clown Wrasse, Slippery Dick Wrasse, Doctor Fish, Graysby, Dusky Squirrel Fish, Longspine Squirrel Fish, Stripped Croaker, Leather Jack, Emerald Parrot Fish, Red Tail Parrot Fish, White Grunt, Bone Fish
Species Caught 2010
Zander, Pike, Perch, Eel, Tench, Bream, Roach, Rudd, Mirror Carp, Common Carp, Crucian Carp, Siamese Carp, Asian Redtail Catfish, Sawai Catfish, Rohu, Amazon Redtail Catfish, Pacu, Long Tom, Moon Wrasse, Sergeant Major, Green Damsel, Tomtate Grunt, Sea Chub, Yellowtail Surgeon, Black Damsel, Blue Dot Grouper, Checkered Sea Perch, Java Rabbitfish, One Spot Snapper, Snubnose Rudderfish
Species Caught 2009
Barramundi, Spotted Sorubim Catfish, Wallago Leeri Catfish, Wallago Attu Catfish, Amazon Redtail Catfish, Mrigul, Siamese Carp, Java Barb, Tarpon, Wahoo, Barracuda, Skipjack Tuna, Bonito, Yellow Eye Rockfish, Red Snapper, Mangrove Snapper, Black Fin Snapper, Dog Snapper, Yellow Tail Snapper, Marble Grouper, Black Fin Tuna, Spanish Mackerel, Mutton Snapper, Redhind Grouper, Saddle Grouper, Schoolmaster, Coral Trout, Bar Jack, Pike, Zander, Perch, Tench, Bream, Roach, Rudd, Common Carp, Golden Tench, Wels Catfish
Species Caught 2008
Dorado, Wahoo, Barracuda, Bonito, Black Fin Tuna, Long Tom, Sergeant Major, Red Snapper, Black Damsel, Queen Trigga Fish, Red Grouper, Redhind Grouper, Rainbow Wrasse, Grey Trigger Fish, Ehrenbergs Snapper, Malabar Grouper, Lunar Fusiler, Two Tone Wrasse, Starry Dragonet, Convict Surgeonfish, Moonbeam Dwarf Angelfish,Bridled Monocle Bream, Redlined Triggerfish, Cero Mackeral, Rainbow Runner
Species Caught 2007
Arapaima, Alligator Gar, Mekong Catfish, Spotted Sorubim Catfish, Pacu, Siamese Carp, Barracuda, Black Fin Tuna, Queen Trigger Fish, Red Snapper, Yellow Tail Snapper, Honeycomb Grouper, Red Grouper, Schoolmaster, Cubera Snapper, Black Grouper, Albacore, Ballyhoo, Coney, Yellowfin Goatfish, Lattice Spinecheek