The European Eel has a wide geographic range from Northern Norway to North Africa and the Mediterranean. Mature fish migrate thousands of miles to the Sargasso Sea, south of Bermuda to spawn. There is significant concern regarding the status of Anguilla anguilla, due to a decline in recruitment, population and escapement of the species over the past four decades.
The species is already listed as "Critically Endangered" on the IUCN Red List and is on Appendix II of CITES. European Union legislation was adopted in 2007 to ensure all Member States would develop Eel Management Plans. In 2014, as proposed by the Government of Monaco, the species was listed on CMS Appendix II, "having a conservation status which would significantly benefit from international co-operation".
A first meeting of Range States and European and American Eel experts was convened in October 2016 in Galway Ireland.
In 2017, COP12 adopted a Concerted Action for the species, which envisaged a number of future actions, including a second meeting of Range States.
This workshop is being co-organized by the CMS Secretariat and the Sargasso Sea Commission. The purpose is to identify and prioritize the gaps in conservation and management efforts and chart a way forward.
Measures to be discussed might include the extension of the management regimes, which have been developed in the EU, to other Range States, mechanisms to support such activities, and, to the extent possible under current international law, the protection of the crucial spawning areas in the high seas area of the Sargasso Sea.
The meeting will provide a unique opportunity for the Range States to come together and take stock of eel conservation and management measures, and discuss options for a possible instrument.