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Monday 25.06.2018 | Name days: Maiga, Milija
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Eel fishing to be restricted in Baltic Sea for three months

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUEuropean Union Fisheries Council has decided to restrict eel fishing for three months in 2018 in all waters, including the Baltic Sea. Although the World Wide Fund for Nature and environmental organization in Europe view it as a notable first step, these efforts are unlikely to have a major impact on the most important problem – eel population continues declining rapidly, as noted by WWF.

Members of the Fisheries Council, with Latvian Agriculture Minister Jānis Dūklavs among them, declined the proposal on the general eel fishing ban requested by the European Commission and environment specialists. Instead member states will have to consider in which three months to introduce the eel fishing restriction next year. Still, this solution is far from necessary and scientifically proposed measures to preserve the species.

Eels migrate from the Baltic Sea to Sargasso Sea, which is the only place in the world where those animals spawn, in autumn. Because it was not possible to convince members of the council about the problem, it is instead necessary to apply the fishing restriction for the most appropriate months. To make the restriction more effective, WWF recommends member states to cease eel fishing in the most intensive eel migration months to avoid damaging the population even more.

WWF notes that it has followed arguments used by decision-makers in Latvia. «Explanations were provided by Agriculture Ministry’s Fisheries Department Director Normunds Riekstiņš to the media about Latvia’s position. Among other things, he criticized European Commission’s proposal as a weakly prepared one. European environment organizations also requested a full ban on eel fishing in EU waters.»

«We can criticize the European Commission and say that its proposal has holes, but it is short-sighted to reject the idea as a whole. It is clear that European Commission’s proposal would have a positive effect on eel population. The argument used by the ministry’s representative that fishing for eels in Latvia is performed in lakes, from which there is no way for them to return to the sea, is cynical. We do not want to start a discussion about an animal’s point of life if they are denied reproduction. At the same time, eel spawns are not produced in fish farms. There is no way to get them outside of fishing them out in European waters, when they are on their way to Sargasso Sea. This pulls them from their natural environment and life cycle,» says WWF Baltic Sea and saltwater programme manager Elīna Kolāte.

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