CITES convenes international technical workshop on eels (Anguilla spp.) at Royal Botanic Gardens KEW, London, UK

On 18-20 March 2018, more than 45 experts from over 15 countries met at the Royal Botanic Gardens in London for an international workshop on the conservation, management, fisheries and trade in eels (Anguilla spp.). The meeting was convened by the CITES Secretariat and participants included eel range States, trading countries, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), the IUCN Anguillid Eel Specialist Group, the ICES/GFCM/EIFAAC Working Group on Eel, eel farmers and other eel and fisheries experts.

The European eel (Anguilla anguilla) was listed on CITES Appendix II at the 14th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP14, The Hague, 2007) and the listing officially came into force in March 2009. In December 2010, the European Union (EU), which represents a number of European eel range States, imposed a ban on all exports of European eel from the EU on the grounds that it was not in a position to make a non-detriment finding (NDF). Trade in European eel from non-EU range States to non-EU countries was not affected by this action. Trade in a number of other species of anguillid eels also occurs, though this trade is not regulated by CITES.

The workshop provided participants with an opportunity to discuss the challenges and lessons learnt from the implementation of the Appendix II listing of European eel (Anguilla anguilla), to share their knowledge and experience on managing and trading in other eel species, as well as to reflect on the impact that the listing and subsequent ban on trade in European eel has had on other Anguilla species.

Three working groups were formed to consider (1) the implementation of the current listing of European eel (Anguilla anguilla) on CITES Appendix II; (2) illegal trade in A. Anguilla; and (3) the conservation and sustainable management of non-CITES listed Anguilla species. Participants also had opportunities to make short presentations on their particular area of expertise or concern.

The report and recommendations from this workshop will be made available for the next meetings of the Animals Committee (16-21 July, Geneva) and the Standing Committee (1-5 October, Rosa Khutor, Sochi).

The workshop was made possible by financial support from the European Union, as well as logistical and other support from the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and the UN Environment-World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC).