The European eel (Anguilla anguilla) in France: An Example of Close Cooperation Among Researchers and Fishers to Study and Manage an Endangered Species

  • Patrick ProuzetEmail author
  • Elsa Amilhat
  • Catherine Boisneau
  • Philippe Boisneau
  • Eric Feunteun
  • Nicolas Michelet
Conference paper


The European eel (Anguilla Anguilla) was a very valuable species for the economy of small scale fisheries in France both in marine and in inland waters. At the beginning of the 21st century the species was the third economical value of all the species caught in the Bay of Biscay despite a strong reduction in abundance since the middle of the 20th century and especially since the seventies. Right now, there is a sharp decline of the economic value of that fishery due to some constraining fishing regulations and due to the export ban of eel outside Europe. Due to a dramatic decrease of its abundance in all the European waters, the EU decided to implement an eel management plan in 2007, in a council regulation establishing measures for the recovery of the stock of the European eel. Each member states producing eels had to identify regulation measures and eel habitat and had to evaluate the effectiveness of these measures. They represented the basis of the national management plans defined by each member states that wish to exploit the eel resource. The objective of the eel national management plan is to reduce anthropogenic mortalities so as to permit with high probability the escapement to the sea of at least 40% of the silver eel biomass relative to the best estimate of escapement that would have existed if no anthropogenic influences had impacted the stock. In that context, some large scientific programs such as INDICANG and EELIAD have been undertaken to improve our present knowledge on the migratory behaviour of eel at different phases of its biological cycle, to develop some methodologies to evaluate the abundance of the stock in a given river system and to assess the relative effects of both fisheries and others anthropogenic factors on the future of the stock. A large part of these studies were undertaken through a close cooperation between scientists and fishers in order to add their know-how and knowledge to develop some technical approaches on the field. Some examples are given to illustrate these field experiments.


European eel Anguilla anguilla Population trend Habitat Management 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick Prouzet
    • 1
    Email author
  • Elsa Amilhat
    • 2
  • Catherine Boisneau
    • 3
  • Philippe Boisneau
    • 4
  • Eric Feunteun
    • 5
  • Nicolas Michelet
    • 6
  1. 1.SFJO FranceSaint-Jean de LuzFrance
  2. 2.University of PerpignanPerpignanFrance
  3. 3.University of ToursTours cedex 1France
  4. 4.CONAPPEDParisFrance
  5. 5.MNHN/CRESCODinardFrance
  6. 6.CNPMEM/CONAPPEDParisFrance

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