Freshwater eels (Anguilla spp.) are catadromous fish, adult migrate from freshwater to the deep sea to spawn and the larvae will return to freshwater to grow. In recent years, there has been growing concern about declining stocks of various species of anguillid eels around the world. Fishing activity that tend to increase and decrease in ecological quality can threaten the existence activities of the freshwater eel fishery resources and lead to a decrease in catches.
Most of the world’s eel production is derived from aquaculture, it should be noted that eel aquaculture is still dependent on the natural resources. As techniques for the full-life cycle aquaculture of eels have not yet been fully developed for commercial use, the eel aquaculture industry is still solely dependent on wild resources for seed stocks. However, the natural resources had been confronted with various factors that could possibly create negative impacts on the eel resources including habitat alteration, over exploitation, climate change, pollution, and incidence of diseases. Thus, concerning on the sustainability of various eel species in the world have increased in recent years. It should be reckoned that the European and American eels are already threatened to certain degree by pollution and damming (or the construction of dams that prevent their migration to freshwater bodies) leading to almost “close to collapse” of the European eel resources. This situation prompted CITES to list the European eel (Anguilla anguilla) in CITES Appendix II in 2009 and accordingly, trade restrictions of the European eel and its products came into effect. In Southeast Asia, it is known that aquaculture and inland capture fisheries of eel are practiced, but data and information about the total production of eel in the region is still very rare.
Therefore, SEAFDEC/IFRDMD holds the Workshop on “REGIONAL AWARENESS RAISING ON PROSPECTIVE SPECIES (Catadromous Eels) to CITESCOP18” with funding support from the FAO on October 24th – 25th, 2018. Deputy Secretary General SEAFDEC, Mr. Akito Sato gives his welcoming speech and Dr. Toni Ruchimat, Director of Center for Fisheries Research, opens the workshop. Chief of SEAFDEC/IFRDMD, Dr. Arif Wibowo explains that eel is the main concern of the Indonesian government so that it is not included in the CITES red list and this workshop is held to discuss about that.
The workshop is attended by delegates from Cambodia, Myanmar, Philippines and Indonesia, and also attended by competent speakers in their respective fields. Mr. Kim Friedman, Senior Fishery Resources Officer of Fisheries and Aquaculture Department in Marine and Inland Fisheries Branch in FAO, presents about trade regulations related to species status and the process for listing species on CITES appendices. He explains that eel species trading in America and Europe is prohibited because the eel population there is very rare. He asks that the Indonesian government and other Asian countries can conduct good management of eel cultivation. If it is included in the list of endangered CITES animals, so the trade in eel is prohibited and automatically all trading is illegal activity.
Ms. Laura M. Lee, from North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries, shares about assessing the status of eel stocks in Canada and the USA, while Dr. Shannan Crow, from National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research Ltd., NIWA, explains about assessing the status of eel stocks in New Zealand. This workshop has some conclusions that all Southeast Asian member countries must have regulation to manage eel trading and fishing; to build facilities for fish ways; and to provide method to collect reliable data on eels status in order to make sure eels status not include in CITES red list species. #DPA