EU management – current situation and future actions Kenneth Patterson European Commission Directorate-General of Fisheries and Maritime Affairs
The problem ... ... is a lack of glass eel.
Recruitment depends on ... • survival rate from egg hatching until recruitment at the estuaries – depending on oceanic environment; • the abundance of silver eel at spawning; • egg quality and physiology of spawners. Of these, only the abundance of silver eel at spawning can be directly managed. To some extent, physiological quality might be improved.
Community action or National Actions ? • There is a common spawning area and, so far as we know, a mixing of all silver eel from all European countries at spawning. • Improvement of silver eel escapement from one Member State will benefit eel in all Member States. • This common benefit of actions requires a common action. This is why a Community approach is needed – to share the costs because the benefits will also be shared.
The Habitats Directive1 • Eel have a very wide ranging area, covering most European inland waters. For this kind of species, the Directive states that "sites will be proposed only where there is a clearly identifiable area representing the physical and biological factors essential to their life and reproduction" • BUT Eels are very widely distributed – it’s not possible to identify particular sites. 1 Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora.
The Water Framework Directive1 • Member States must protect, improve and restore water bodies by 2015, reaching a number of quality elements • "Composition, abundance and age-structure of ichthyofauna" is already a quality element for an indicator of ecological status (Annex V, items 1.1.1, 1.2.2 of the Directive). 1 Council and European Parliament Directive No 2000/60/EC of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community water policy
Water Framework Directive (contd.) • Eel are widely distributed in most freshwater systems in Member States • Eel should, therefore, form part of the « ichthyofauna abundance » indicator of water quality. • The interpretation of the « ichthyofauna abundance » indicator is at the discretion of Member States • The Commission will examine the inclusion of eel as an indicator species for the WFD.
Reformed Common Agricultural Policy1 • Criteria of cross-compliance are introduced for direct payments made by Member States to farmers in respect of environmental obligations. • These criteria are applied at the discretion of Member States. • Community legislation directly addressing eel management does not yet exist. 1 Council Regulation 1782/2003 of 29.9.2003 establishing common rules ...for support under the common agricultural policy
Renewable Energy Directive • Sets targets for generation of renewable electricity as a proportion of national production. • Respecting these targets does not mean that other Community legislation does not need to be resepcted, i.e. the Water Framework Directive has an equal legal weight, as would an eel regulation.
Common Fisheries Policy • Applies to ‘living aquatic resources’ – available and accessible living aquatic marine species, including anadromous and catadromous species during their marine life. • CFP does not apply to eels in freshwater.
Eel: New Policy Instrument • Need to increase the escapement of silver eel to the sea. • Need to have an equitable basis, across member states, and different sectors. • Need to act on different life stages (glass, yellow and silver equitably) • Community legislation is needed because it’s a Community problem.
Management Instruments • Possible : TACs, effort limits, closed seasons, closed areas, gear restrictions, MLS • Used : MLS of 20, 22, 25, 28, 30, 35, 35.5, 37, 40, 50, 55, or one half-pound. • Wide variety of gear limits. • Wide variety of closed seasons. • Many measures decided on a very local level.
Subsidiarity • Local nature of management is important. • Reaching a common target is also important. • Community’s role is to achieve management to a common target, using whatever means are locally most appropriate. • This is not an appropriate area for directly applicable Community regulations.
What target ? • 40% escapement of silver eel to the sea; relative to « natural conditions »: • no mortality by fishing • no mortality by turbines etc. • colonisation of eel habitats at an appropriate level • no pollution or additional mortalities • but not counting major restructuring of heavily-modified waterways.
How ? • Member States to prepare management plans: how they will achieve the 40% escapement target for each river basin. • Management plans to be prepared by 31 December 2006. • Commission to convene STECF for evaluations. • Acceptable management plans to be approved by the Commission and implemented by 1 July 2007.
How ? contd. • Each Member State to report to the Commission by 31 December 2009 on monitoring, effectiveness and outcome of the plan. • Commission (on the basis of STECF evaluations) reports to Parliament and Council by 1 July 2010 • Commission may propose more measures thereafter.
...meanwhile, urgent measures... • Closure of fishing from 1st to 15th each month. • -derogations available : • If a Member State already attains the 40% escapement target; • for glass eel fishing for restocking; • any activity foreseen under the management plan.
What’s in the management plans ? • Commission to provide guidance after an expert meeting to be convened in 2006. • All measures to ensure reaching the 40% escapement target, • Restrictions on fishing (closures, technical measures); • Restocking; • Eel passes and removal of obstructions to migration; • Control, licensing and effort limitations • Improvements in water quality relevant to eel survival. • Monitoring of eel abundance and survival.
What’s not there... • Trade measures. To be justified in WTO once Community conservation measures are in place. • Subsidies for restocking – in the context of the FIFG, only for selected cases where there is a proven conservation benefit. • Any other subsidies – to be discussed by MS in the context of the EFF.
Next steps • Commission proposal presented on 6 October 2005. • Commission to convene STECF group to prepare the content of management plans. • Discussion with Member States and stakeholders (through ACFA). • Opinion of the European Parliament. • Adoption likely no earlier than mid-2006. • Entry into force no earlier than end 2006.