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Eel, European

Quality mark Cultivation
/Keurmerk Wild
Green
Second choice
Avoid
Bycatch
Informatie over vissoort
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General

Eels

The group of Eels (Anguilliformes) can be characterized by their elongated shape. Ranging in length from 5 cm to over 4 meters. Commonly known species from this family are the European eel, the conger eel and the predatory, terrifying moray. All eels are carnivorous. They can be distinguished from snakes by their long backfins. Eels do not have scales and have two small but very distinctive pectoral fins. Many species are even able to survive on land for quite some time.

Eels live in all seas around the world. Some species are catadromous, meaning that they migrate from salt to fresh water. The European eel is commercially most interesting in the Netherlands.

 

Eel, European

The European eel can be found in the whole of Europe and in the Mediterranean Sea. It has been listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ on the IUCN Red List of Species. The eel is a catadromous fish, meaning it grows up in brackish or freshwater and spawns in salt water. When migrating to sea, eel can crawl on land for short distances. The European eel presumably reproduce in the Sargasso Sea. The eel larvae use the ocean currents to migrate back to Europe, where the larvae (glass eel) swim into inland waters. Much of the life history of the European eel is still unknown, especially regarding reproduction.

 

Eel, European

Anguilla anguilla
Origin

Europe, inland waters
Deelgebieden: Europe, inland waters

Farming- / Catch method

Recirculation aquaculture system (RAS)

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Source usage
Impact on the environment
Management
Final assessment
Explanation assessment

The European eel is not doing well. The eel stock has decreased dramatically and is listed on the IUCNIUCN:
International Union for the Conservation of Nature, an international institute for nature and natural resources. It is a partnership with both non-governmental organizations and governments. 
red list as critically endangered. Since 1980, the catches of eel in the Netherlands have decreased with 75% and the arrival of glass eel has decreased with 99%. The exact cause of the rapid decline of the eel stock is not known. ICESICES:
International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, an international organization dedicated to research and advice for a sustainable use of the oceans. 
advises to minimalize the eel mortality by human causes. The decline of eel is among other things due to water contamination, and the increasing infrastructure (dams, pumping stations, and hydropower stations). The eel also suffered from the intense commercial and recreative fisheries.

Eel farms are dependent on wild caught glass eel (young eel). Because wild eel is critically endangered, farmed eel also always scores red on the VISwijzer.

The young, wild-caught eels are fattened in farms. A large amount of (fish) feed is needed for this. The farms use recirculation systems, a good aquaculture method because the water quality can be controlled precisely and there is no contamination of the environment. The aquaculture coupled with recovery programmes has no scientifically proven positive effect so there is still the advice to not consume eel – including eel with the “Sustainable Eel Fund” label.

According to a European enactment from 2007, the Eel Regulation, every member state must take drastic action for the recovery of the eel stock in Europe. This plan still allows fishery, as well as adult fish as on glass eel that is used in aquaculture, against the scientific advice. Also, only few member states have taken measures to remove eel migration barriers like dams and sluices.

Fishing season

This assessment concerns a farmed species. Seasonal information is not relevant when it comes to fish from aquaculture farms.

 

 

Eel, European

Anguilla anguilla
Origin

Europe, inland waters
Deelgebieden: Atlantic Ocean, north-east

Farming- / Catch method

Pots and traps

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Fish stocks and fishing pressure
Ecosystem effects
Fishery management
Final assessment
Explanation assessment

European eel is not doing well. The eel stock has decreased dramatically and is listed on the IUCNIUCN:
International Union for the Conservation of Nature, an international institute for nature and natural resources. It is a partnership with both non-governmental organizations and governments. 
red list as critically endangered. Since 1980, the catches of eel in the Netherlands have decreased with 75% and the arrival of glass eel has decreased with 99%. The precise cause of the rapid decline of the eel stock is not known. ICESICES:
International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, an international organization dedicated to research and advice for a sustainable use of the oceans. 
advises to minimalize the eel mortality by human causes. The decline of eel is among other things due to water contamination, and the increasing infrastructure (dams, pumping stations, and hydropower stations). The eel also suffered from the commercial and sporting fisheries.

Eel is caught with FykeFyke:
A fishing technique where fish are attracted into a fyke. Fykes are pots or traps made of, for example, wire mesh.
nets. this is a [passive fishing gear] and very selective: bottom impact and bycatch are not an issue in this fishery.

There is currently a fishing closure for the commercial fishery between September 1st and November 30th. In addition, Sportvisserij Nederland (Dutch recerational fishery organisation) has agreed with their members to a release obligation of all caught eels. There is also a fishing ban in several waters due to high dioxin concentrations in eel meat from caught in specific areas. Whether these measures to reduce the fishing presure of eel have an effect on the stock recovery is unkown. According to a European enactment from 2007, the Eel Regulation, every member state must take drastic action for the recovery of the eel stock in Europe. This plan still allows fishery, as well as adult fish as on glass eel that is used in aquaculture, against the scientific advice. Also, only few member states have taken measures to remove eel migration barriers like dams and sluices.

Fishing season

Fish is in season when the spawning period has ended, as the quality is then at its best. This is however different for the European eel. The European eel only spawns once in its lifetime, after this the eel dies. Therefore the eel season is based on the fisheries closure, from September 1st untill November 30th.

ASC label

Fish with the ASC label is farmed in a sustainable manner.

MSC label

Fish with the MSC label is caught sustainably.

Good fish

This fish is not being overfished or is being responsibly farmed, with minimal impact on the environment.

Second choice

This fish is a second choice. There are still some improvements to be made in this fishery or fish farm.

Avoid

Do not buy this fish. It's being overfished or the way it's farmed or caught has a negative impact on the environment.

By-catch

This fish is unwillingly caught while fishing for a different species. They are underused and should be eaten more.

GlobalG.A.P.

GlobalG.A.P. certified farms are doing a step in the right direction in terms of sustainability. A few species with this label are getting a better score on the VISwijzer.

Organic

Organic standards are the strictest when it comes to fish feed. They also require certain measures for animal well-being.

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