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ANSE, San Pedro Fishermen's Association and WWF thank the Civil Guard for the persecution of illegal eel fishing in the Mar Menor (21/07/2020)

The environmental associations ANSE and WWF Spain and the Fishermen's Association of San Pedro del Pinatar positively value the actions of control of the illegal traffic of European eel in the Mar Menor carried out by the SEPRONA of the Civil Guard.

The European eel is a species considered Critically Endangered and National, European and international regulations and conventions require control of its catches and a reduction in other causes of mortality, in order to ensure the migration and reproduction of individuals.

Adults.Last week, the SEPRONA of the Civil Guard seized, and subsequently released, 180 kg of eels found in bags anchored in the port of Los Urrutias, opening an investigation to four people for an alleged crime against flora and fauna, in the ASKEA operating framework.

This is the second eel seizure of 2020 in the Region of Murcia, since another 200 kg were located in April.

This operation, launched in late 2019 with the aim of fighting poaching and illicit trafficking in eels and eels, continues other operations developed nationwide for more than a decade, and coordinated in turn with European operations.

and international, carried out by Europol and Interpol, respectively.As a result of previous operations, in May 2019 the first sentence against this illegal trafficking was published, with 5 people and 3 companies being found guilty, with penalties amounting to 23 months in prison and 1.5 million euros in fines.In the 2019/2020 season, professional fishing for eel was allowed in the Region of Murcia between December and March, with a stoppage during the month of February to favor the migration of mature individuals (1).

However, due to a high number of catches, the closure was closed in late January, through an agreement between the San Pedro del Pinatar Fishermen's Association and the CARM Fisheries and Aquaculture Service.

Likewise, it is prohibited to keep individuals out of the Brotherhood's premises during the closed period.The European eel is a species considered Critically Endangered (2) and the national (3), European (4) and international (5) regulations and conventions put into operation almost fifteen years ago require a control of its catches and an reduction of other causes of mortality, in order to ensure the migration and reproduction of adult individuals, as well as an improvement in the knowledge of the populations and the ecology of the species.

After almost fifteen years of activities since the implementation of European and international regulations, a recent assessment of the state of the species worldwide certifies that the species continues in the same state of threat, and that the pressure on it has not decreased.

.The conservation associations ANSE and WWF Spain and the Brotherhood of San Pedro del Pinatar, emphasize the importance of controlling the illegal traffic of European eel, since overexploitation is one of the main threats to the species.

Currently it is considered that the only means to ensure the survival of the species is to facilitate reproduction, for which it is necessary to allow the migration of adult individuals, especially larger females.These organizations are immersed in the development of follow-up actions to improve the information available on the eel in the Iberian Southeast and the Mar Menor in general, including marking of specimens with visual techniques and acoustic telemetry, as well as sampling in the lagua environment.

Due to the fragmentation and loss of habitat in the large rivers, it seems that coastal lagoons and wetlands such as the Mar Menor may play a decisive role as a reservoir for European eel.These actions are part of the GePesAng project (Eel monitoring for fisheries management in Red Natura 2000), developed by ANSE with WWF / Adena as a partner, with the collaboration of the Biodiversity Foundation, the Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Challenge Demographic, through the High Tide Program, co-financed by the FEMP (European Maritime and Fisheries Fund).

The project has the collaboration of the San Pedro del Pinatar Fishermen's Association, the Aquatic Vertebrate Biology and Conservation Research Group of the Zoology Department of the University of Murcia, the Marine and Environmental Sciences Center (MARE) of the Faculty of Sciences from the University of Lisbon, the London Zoological Society (ZSL), and the Fisheries and Aquaculture Service of the Ministry of Water, Agriculture, Livestock,Fishing and Environment of the Region of Murcia.

Source: ANSE

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