IUCN Species of the Day: European Eel


The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(tm)

Photo credit: Biopix.dk: N Sloth


The European Eel, Anguilla anguilla, is listed as ‘CRITICALLY ENDANGERED’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™.  It spends most of its life in European rivers which flow into the Atlantic, Mediterranean and Baltic seas, and migrates to the western sub-tropical Atlantic where it breeds.

There is a huge demand in Asia and Europe for European Eels as food and, as a result, they are now being fish unsustainably.  Other threats include dams, which have blocked migration routes and cause high mortality rates among migrating eels, and a parasitic nematode introduced from stocked eels from Japan, which is suspected to affect the ability of these eels to reach their spawning grounds.

The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) have recommended that a recovery plan be developed as a matter of urgency.  International trade in this species is regulated by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), and the European Council has issued a regulation requiring the development of eel management plans.


Geographic Range of the European EelCredit: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species


To lear more about European Eels, click here.  Or visit the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species by clicking their logo below.



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