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The European Eel - A species under threat


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#11 chrisd1

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 03:50 PM

I do not eat fish, just for the record. I don't like the taste. I apologise for not reading prior threads also. But all i wanted to do was raise awareness, i wasn.t having a go at any angling groups in particular either, and yes some do treat the Eel with respect, but there are a lot that don't. Does the use of Eels as bait mean you catch more/bigger fish? I doubt it.

#12 Steve Coppolo

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 04:09 PM

Steve C, perhaps this is something that the MCZs will be useful for without involving the EU?


I don't think so, Worms. This is part of the argument I've been having about MCZ's and MPA's in our waters. Most of the fish that people say they want to protect are migratory, so any conservaton zone would only offer them temporary protection, at best. I can't imagine how they would afford Eels any protection.
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#13 Worms

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 04:44 PM

I don't think so, Worms. This is part of the argument I've been having about MCZ's and MPA's in our waters. Most of the fish that people say they want to protect are migratory, so any conservaton zone would only offer them temporary protection, at best. I can't imagine how they would afford Eels any protection.

Restricting netting of elvers in estuaries and a ban on trawling for adults would help. This is proposed and will hopefully be enforcable when the new Marine Bill is passed. There was a consultation that ended a couple of months ago and the proposals are included here (click download) https://consult.envi...d=1245145558728. Some good proposals in there especially a ban on exporting elvers outside the EU and a compulsory re-stocking with 60% of the elver catch.

Obviously if the MCZs and MPAs restrict foreign fishing vessels as well as ours then adult eels will have a chance to be off and away before they can be caught.

Just me being optimistic again B)
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!

#14 ColinW

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 05:13 PM

The problem I always have with this eel population stuff is that there is absolutely no scientific evidence to back up what they are asking for.
If you look at this ICES graph showing landings and recruitment there is just no correlation at all (unlike the situation with cod, where the data is quite clear).

Posted Image

You might glance at this graph and think it shows slight correlation but then you notice that (in an almost unbelievably unscientific way) they have plotted a graph with one linear y axis and one logarithmic y axis. So recruitment is varying enormously over a period when landings have varied only slightly. It is pseudo-scientific claptrap of the worst kind. The peak in landings (just before the dip presumably caused by the war) precedes a period when the recruitment went up by a factor of ten!! It is perfectly obvious that eel fishing has not caused the drop in eel numbers.

#15 Steve Coppolo

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 05:41 PM

Restricting netting of elvers in estuaries and a ban on trawling for adults would help. This is proposed and will hopefully be enforcable when the new Marine Bill is passed. There was a consultation that ended a couple of months ago and the proposals are included here (click download) https://consult.envi...d=1245145558728. Some good proposals in there especially a ban on exporting elvers outside the EU and a compulsory re-stocking with 60% of the elver catch.

Obviously if the MCZs and MPAs restrict foreign fishing vessels as well as ours then adult eels will have a chance to be off and away before they can be caught.

Just me being optimistic again B)


There have been all sorts of things proposed over the years. Plenty of consultations, too. None of them ever came to anything worthwhile. They did provide work for depratments full of civil servants and plenty of scope for scientific studies and research, though, along with the funding that goes with it.

Anyway, the proposal to stop the exporting of elvers outside the EU is a joke, isn't it? How many elvers are eaten within the EU - and how many are exported outside?

And once the Eels are outside any MCZ or MPA, they are fair game for anyone who wants to have a go at them, British or Foreign.

Like I said, 'being seen to be doing something', without actually doing anything.
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#16 Worms

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 05:42 PM

It is perfectly obvious that eel fishing has not caused the drop in eel numbers.

My educated guess is that adult eels have suffered from pesticide poisoning back in the 50s and 60s (such as dieldrin etc) as did otters. Eel flesh is high in fats which takes up such pesticides and retains them within the body. Such toxins are known to have negative effects on reproductive systems. The problem with eels is that they can live for so long it can be a long time before the damage is seen by which time it could be too late.

The japanese passion for elvers to grow on to adults for the table has exploded. The fact that elvers are nowhere near the numbers of 50 years ago has raised concerns throughout Europe. It's not just we old fuddy-duddies in the UK.

Not just fishing no, but when combined with other factors fishing accentuates the problem!
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!

#17 Steve Coppolo

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 05:51 PM

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??


You weren't just raising awareness, though, were you. You were telling anglers that we shouldn't be using Eels as bait. Personally, I don't use Eels as bait, but I like eating them. I would imagine that you and the NAC would ban anglers from fishing for eels to eat, too, if you got your way. As you've got more chance of banning anglers from taking eels for food or bait than you have of getting the elver fishery banned, that, in my eyes, makes you a bully.

If you concentrated your efforts on the things that really matter, and left anglers alone, you might find that more of them would support you.
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#18 Brian Carragher

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 06:50 PM

Is there much of a trawling fishery for mature adult eels then?

#19 chesters1

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 07:18 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.

not sure anglers bump into enough eels for them to be considered a nuisance ,a problem to unhook as the knack of bootlace unhooking has been lost by the ordinary angler.my first "fish" was a bootlace now its usually perch.
i haven't caught an eel for years they were once common ,most were killed i expect just trying to retrieve the hook (they were expensive) so theoretically should have disappeared then not now unless theres another force IE elver fishing.
theres little reason to Elver fishing the Elvers go abroad so only the catcher and taxman make any money it has no benefit only to a very small number of people but the after effects effect many

Edited by chesters1, 05 November 2009 - 07:24 PM.

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#20 wurzel

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 07:23 PM

Is there much of a trawling fishery for mature adult eels then?


Hello Brian

There has been the odd trawler and once a small pair team fished for eels in the estuaries local to me in the past but not for several years, As I recall catching eels was not a problem getting them to market alive was. I don't know of any elver fishery on the SE Coast and the eel flyke fishery is highly regulated with few licences issued.


Have not noticed much of a shortage of eels in the places I fish (with rod and line)
I fish to live and live to fish.