General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean - GFCM

Research programme on European eel: towards coordination of European eel stock management and recovery in the Mediterranean

European eel (Anguilla anguilla) is a migratory species with a unique life cycle. Between their spawning phase and their pre-reproductive stage, European eel migrate from the Northwest Atlantic to the coasts of their distribution range and continental waters.

European eels are declining globally due to a combination of natural causes and anthropogenic pressures impacting it and its habitats at different life stages. Following Recommendation GFCM/42/2018/1 and discussions held at the 2019 GFCM Working Group on the management of European eel (WGMEASURES – EEL) the GFCM implemented an eel research programme in the Mediterranean


  • Identify and evaluate management and protection measures for stock recovery.
  • Establish a common framework for long-term monitoring of the European eel in the Mediterranean. 
  • Collect, collate and update data concerning eel fisheries, eel habitats, biological and ecological features of local eel stocks and eel trade across the Mediterranean region, including in all coastal, transitional and inland waters.
  • Establish a common framework for assessing European eel stocks at different scales in the Mediterranean. 
  • Establish a coordination framework and a national and international network of European eel experts and projects around the Mediterranean for future interactions, involving the transfer of knowledge through capacity-building activities and the revision of the GFCM Data Collection Reference Framework (DCRF) for European eel.



Learn more about the GFCM's research programmes.