Eels at the Edge: Science, Status, and Conservation Concerns

Management of European Eel Populations in England and in Wales: a Critical Review and Pragmatic Considerations

Brian Knights, Anthony Bark, and Beth Williams


Abstract.—Recruitment and fisheries for the European eel Anguilla anguilla have declined in recent decades. We discuss a precautionary-principle approach to stock management that takes into account methodological problems, with particular reference to studies in England and Wales. Pragmatic surrogate Biological Reference Point management targets and compliance assessment are reviewed. Biological Reference Points based on patterns of density, biomass, and mean individual size with distance from tidal limits in relatively pristine rivers are recommended. Distances from the edge of the continental shelf and from spawning areas also need to be taken into account. We make pragmatic suggestions for collation of commercial and fisheries- survey data, setting and monitoring BRP targets and management options to maximize in-river stocks and hence spawner escapement.