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Research article2022Peer reviewedOpen access

The commercial push net fisheries for glass eels in France and its handling mortality

Simon, Janek; Charrier, Fabien; Dekker, Willem; Belhamiti, Nicolas


Glass eels, the young life stage of the endangered European eel entering the European continental waters, are exploited for human consumption (direct, or on-grown) and restocking. Restocking is considered as a potential contribution to the conservation of the stock. For this, the mortality of glass eels during capture should be low. We studied the handling mortality of glass eels obtained by commercial push net fisheries in different rivers in France in 2019 and 2020. The direct mortality of glass eels in 41 fishing trips of 29 boats varied from zero to 3.1% (mean 0.3%). Skin lesions identified by staining occurred in 31% (range: 4%–98%) of the eels. Post fishing mortality of glass eels varied from zero to 67.2%. The mean total fishing mortality was with 7.4% (range 0%–56.2%), considerably lower than in previous studies. The Sustainable Eel Group (SEG) issues certificates to fishers applying best practices for a responsible fishery. Comparing certified to uncertified fishers, the certified fishers have on average significant lower lesions and post-fishing mortality rates, However, some uncertified fishers have an equal or better glass eel quality than certified fishers. Noting that certified fishers score better on average, and avoid the worst scores, we conclude that the SEG-certification scheme for responsible fishing is effective.


Anguilla anguilla; eel conservation; post-fishing mortality; restocking; SEG-certification; survival

Published in

Journal of Applied Ichthyology
2022, Volume: 38, number: 2, pages: 170-183

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG14 Life below water

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Fish and Aquacultural Science

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