General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean - GFCM

Management plan | European eel in the Mediterranean Sea

European eel (Anguilla anguilla) fisheries are important in coastal areas, lagoons and inland waters of most GFCM countries. Concern over European eel in Mediterranean areas was raised as early as 2003, and the species’ management has become a priority since it was included in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 2009. Following the GFCM’s support of an eel pilot action in 2013, assessment, management measures and research programmes have been implemented.


  • Provide advice on the implementation of management measures to ensure the recovery of the stock and the future sustainability of the fishery
  • Propose both immediately applicable precautionary measures and other adaptive measures based on future advice on the evolution of the state of the resource and the fishery
  • Develop management measures specific to this fishery such as:
    • spatial measures (e.g. establishment of closed areas, reduction of the area available for fishing in lagoons and lakes, closure of fisheries in specific inland water habitats)
    • temporal measures (e.g. closed seasons, by life stage, including a minimum of three months for the different life stages)
    • gear restrictions (e.g. restriction of authorized gear types by life stage, specific regulations on the characteristics of traps and static nets, longlines and fish barriers)
    • participatory restrictions (e.g. fishing authorizations with requirements such as the type of gear used and specific requirements such as the number of cod-ends, and criteria for their allocation)
    • catch and restocking restrictions
    • reporting obligations (on catches, location of landing points, and origin and destination of catches)
    • effort and catch reductions
    • temporal and spatial fishing closures (FRAs)
    • measures to fight IUU fishing (e.g. catch registration, traceability, control)
  • Enforce a requirement to communicate existing national management plans and national management measures, and to implement a minimum set of measures
  • Collect all available data, including on recreational fishing and restocking activities
  • Launch and implement a research programme (ongoing)
  • Establish of a working group to examine management measures for eel

Learn more about the GFCM's management plans.