French kill off plans to save the eel

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
23 April 2007, at 1:00am

EU - A European plan to stem the catastrophic decline of the eel has been killed off by the French.

Ben Bradshaw, the fisheries minister, said that a European Union conservation plan for the eel, which has declined by 99 per cent since the late 1970s, was a victim of the French parliamentary elections.

The plan, which has taken three years to negotiate, foundered at a meeting in Brussels last week after intense lobbying of European delegations by the French minister for agriculture and fisheries, Dominique Bussereau.

Mr Bussereau, who is known to have eel fishing interests in his constituency of Charente Maritime on the Garonne, is standing for re-election in June. His ministerial website now claims he has "protected the future for 2,000 professional eel fishermen on the Atlantic coast".

Mr Bradshaw said: "It is no excuse to say that the decline of the eel in the past three decades has been catastrophic and that the state of the population is dire.

"We have been talking for three years about this plan for reversing the decline in the eel population. I am disappointed - and surprised that the German presidency of the EU did not push it harder."