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UK Glass Eels has for the last two years been working with the Sustainable Eel Group to introduce sustainable fishing practices in the Bristol Channel.  This has proved to be quite a demanding process in some areas.  The Severn and Wye which has a long tradition of hand fishing practices proved to be relatively straight forward.  However on River Parrett where fishing traditions were not consensual the management policies were difficult to apply novel as fishing practices had been developed.


While some of the these methods are environmentally sensitive others were illegal and damaging. It has taken two years of working with the fishermen and enforcement team to jointly develop and find a satisfactory way forward.  The large river nets have been removed from the river and a new smaller hand net introduced.  From 2011 all the glass eel fisheries in the Bristol Channel area will be using sustainable fishing practices.  This represents about 98% of the UK fishery.  We are working to see if a 100% of the fishery can be certified but there are economic barriers to certifying individual rivers that just have one or two hand net fishermen.


In France it has not been possible to advance the sustainable fisheries practices quite so rapidly.  In the North of France the changes that need to be made will take time.  It is not just change of fishery practices.  The authorities also need to realize that the legal constraints on net size and design are simply not compatible with good fishing practices.  However we have had more success in the Gironde and Sudre near to our base in Royan.  These two rivers are now certified and perhaps it will be possible to certify another in the south in the near future.



Sustainable Eel Group

way forward.  The large river nets have been removed from the river and a new smaller hand net introduced.  From 2011 all the glass eel fisheries in the Bristol Channel area will be using sustainable fishing practices.  This represents about 98% of the UK fishery.  We are working to see if a 100% of the fishery can be certified but there are economic barriers to certifying individual rivers that just have one or two hand net fishermen.


In France it has not been possible to advance the sustainable fisheries practices quite so rapidly. In the North of France the changes that need to be made will take time.  It is not just change of fishery practices.  The authorities also need to realize that the legal constraints on net size and design are simply not compatible with good fishing practices.  However we have had more success in the Gironde and Sudre near to our base in Royan.  These two rivers are now certified and perhaps it will be possible to certify another in the south in the near future.


The Sustainable Eel Standard

River Severn Fishery Assessment

UK Glass Eels Assessment

Championing a Sustainable Fishery

Glass Eels in Schools Programme

Releasing Elvers in Lake Llangorse with BBC Autumnwatch