Before decisive negotiations at EU level on fishing volumes, environmentalists are pushing for stricter protection of the European eel.
"We expect Germany to support the EU Commission's compromise proposal to extend the closed season to six months," said Valeska Diemel, fisheries expert at the Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz (BUND) before the negotiations beginning this Sunday. The environmental and species protection organization WWF sees it similarly. For years, the European eel has been on the international Red List as threatened with extinction. This puts it in the worst category for wildlife. Only the categories "extinct in nature" and "extinct" are even worse.
catch and fish stocks
However, the European eel may be caught for both commercial and non-commercial purposes. A no-go for Diemel: "Fishing for a species threatened with extinction can never be sustainable," she criticizes. To protect eels, the EU Commission proposed in October to extend the closed season from three to six months. The ministers responsible for fisheries in the EU countries will now decide on this. The negotiations are scheduled for this Sunday and Monday in Brussels, but many expect them to last until Tuesday morning.
This also includes other fish stocks in EU waters. In addition, parallel negotiations are currently underway for stocks that are also used by Norway and the United Kingdom. Federal Minister of Agriculture Cem Özdemir (Greens) announced that the negotiations with London and Oslo would support low herring catches in the waters between Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Background: This herring stock is migrating and can hardly be caught in the Baltic Sea because it is not doing well. High catches elsewhere could threaten a recovery of the stock.
Before the negotiations, the WWF expressed great concern about the cod stocks in the North Sea and the North-East Atlantic. "The health of the entire ecosystem rests on the shoulders of species such as cod, herring and sandeel," emphasized WWF fisheries expert Stella Nemecky. Predator-prey relationships and the pressure of the climate crisis must be taken into account when determining catches. "Changed environmental conditions, such as higher water temperatures, put additional strain on the stocks in addition to the fishing pressure."