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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2003

Did lack of spawners cause the collapse of the European eel, Anguilla anguilla?

Dekker, W


Since the 1980s, a 90% decline in recruitment of European eel, Anguilla anguilla (L.), has occurred across most of Europe. Whether the continental stock has equallydeclin ed is uncertain. This studyco mpiles available landings statistics since the beginning of the 20th centuryand identifies trends over time and space, using a statistical model that takes varying levels of reporting into account. Landings in the pre-1940s reached over 40 000 tonnes yr)1, declined during World War II, rose to a peak of 40 000 tonnes yr)1 in the 1960s (coincident with a peak in re-stocking) and dropped to an all time low of <20 000 tonnes yr)1 in the 1990s. The decline in recruitment since the early1980s was preceded by a decline in landings two or more decades earlier, indicating a decline of the continental stock. Considering the continental stock and the spawning stock must have declined in parallel, insufficient spawning stock biomass might have caused the recruitment collapse currentlyobserved.

Published in

Fisheries Management and Ecology
2003, volume: 10, number: 6, pages: 365-376

Authors' information

Netherlands Institute for Fisheries Research (RIVO)

UKÄ Subject classification

Fish and Aquacultural Science

Publication Identifiers


URI (permanent link to this page)