Progress in Reaching International Mechanism for Conserving Endangered Eels

Bonn, 24 May 2018 – Representatives of over 20 Range States of the European Eel (Anguilla anguilla) and a number of IGOs and NGOs met in Malmö, Sweden, to discuss options for a mechanism to enhance international cooperation to conserve the critically endangered species.

The meeting, chaired by a representative of the Swedish Government, was hosted by the World Maritime University, which recently celebrated the 35th anniversary of its foundation and is the only UN entity based in the country. The meeting was also supported by the Washington D.C.-based Sargasso Sea Commission and by the Government of the Principality of Monaco, which proposed the inclusion of the European Eel on Appendix II of CMS at COP11 in Quito in 2014, and which has been recognized as Champion Plus for its support and commitment towards marine species conservation.

I welcome the decision of Range States to give the green light to pursuing options for a mechanism under CMS to secure the survival of these fascinating creatures.  There are still important elements of the eels’ life cycle that we do not fully understand, but we do know that the Sargasso Sea plays a vital role as the only spawning ground and protection of that area of the High Seas is essential.

Bradnee Chambers, Executive Secretary, CMS

As well as being listed on CMS Appendix II, the European Eel is protected under CITES. The European Union has also imposed a ban on trade in the species given its worsening conservation status.  The European Eel is categorized as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List.

A workshop for Range States of the America Eel (Anguilla rostrata) took place in Santo Domingo in March 2018.  The reports of that workshop and the Malmö meeting are being submitted to the forthcoming meeting of the CITES Animals Committee. A summary of the outcomes of the Malmö Workshop is available on the dedicated pages on the CMS website.

In this context, the CMS as a global mechanism could address many of these issues. Based on the above modalities, there is a potential for CMS to begin consultations on setting up such a mechanism for more coordinated and comprehensive European Eel conservation.  

A negotiation process for strengthening international cooperation should take into consideration ongoing reviews of European Eel policies, including those taking place in the EU, the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM), CITES, the IUCN and the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES).


Last updated on 12 September 2018

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