The General Fisheries Council of the Mediterranean has teamed up with scientific partners in nine countries to launch the first research programme on European eel in the Mediterranean Sea, aiming to strengthen co-ordination of stock management and recovery.
The European eel was classified as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) after multiple factors – including habitat loss, overfishing, oceanic changes and an increase pollutant and pathogen levels – had collectively contributed to the decline of the species.
In line with Recommendation GFCM/42/2018/1 adopted by GFCM countries, the GFCM research programme on European eel will aim to identify and assess management and protection measures for eel stock recovery, establish a common framework for the monitoring of European eel, collect and update data concerning eel stocks and habitat in the Mediterranean, and establish a common framework for eel stock assessment.
‘Thanks to strong international co-ordination, capacity-building and the sharing of best practices, the research programme will create a common framework for the management of the European eel in the Mediterranean Sea,’ said GFCM Fishery Resources Officer Elisabetta Betulla Morello.
‘This framework will help reduce the impact of fisheries and aquaculture activities on the species, towards achieving sustainable stock levels of European eel.’
The research programme got underway with an online kick-off event and will have a duration of 18 months.
The initiative is working with scientific partners and administrative contact points in Albania, Algeria, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Tunisia and Turkey.