Tuesday, June 12, 2007

UN votes to save the world's eels

Conservationists and anglers are celebrating tonight after delegates at a meeting of the United Nations' international wildlife convention CITES voted to include the eel on its endangered species list.

The move will tighten controls on international trade in the threatened fish. Experts say numbers have plummetted to just one per cebt of populations 30 years ago.

Once a species is listed on CITES, its trade can be banned completely in extreme cases, or only allowed if exporters can prove it was legally harvested and that trading it will not be detrimental to its survival in the wild.

Over fishing and demand from Japan, where the eel is a delicacy, have helped speed up their decline. Japanese diners eat up to 97,000 tonnes of eels a year.

These are netted live as glass eels or elvers in countries around the world, including British river estuaries, before being grown on to adult size.

More here .