Following an investigation that has been ongoing since November 2015, several arrests and seizures were made last week as part of the dismantling of an international traffic in glass eels.
Spokespersons for the French National Committee for Maritime Fisheries and Marine Fish Farming (CNPMEM) and the French National Committee for Freshwater Professional Fishing (CONAPPED) both welcomed the efforts that have been made to dismantle the illicit harvesting and marketing network, but has warned that blame should not be deflected onto legal fishermen.
‘The French fishing industry welcomes the work done but must not caught up in the blame by confusion,’ the CNPMEM spokesman said, adding that they hope for exemplary sentences to be imposed on the offenders who have brought discredit to an entire professional sector.
‘Linking this illegal traffic and the normal, legal French fishing industry must be avoided. The French sector is the first victim of this illegal activity that has resulted in economic, environmental, and social damage.’
CNPMEM and CONAPPED state that the French maritime and inland glass eel fishery consisted of 532 companies in 2016.
‘Significant efforts have been made for many years by the French industry, including a reduction of almost 60% of the fleet since 2006. These industryprofessionals, who are acting beyond their required obligations, are the first European contributors to eel restocking programmes. They are partners involved in field data collection for a better scientific knowledge of eel stocks, as well as stakeholders working for greater transparency and traceability of this fishery,’ CNPMEM stated
‘For all these reasons, the fishing industry welcomes the action of the French state and its police departments. It will be a civil party in the legal case.’