Eel Survey

Sustainable Eel Survey

Severn & Wye is interested in learning more about how and why you purchase eel. Please take a few moments to complete this brief survey. Your feedback is important to help us understand how limited or extensive your knowledge is about what type of eel is available. We promise that your answers will be in strictest confidence and will not be used to solicit business.
This survey will just take 1 minute to complete.
  • Are you aware that there is a 'Sustainable Eel Standard'?*
Our comment: The ‘Sustainable Eel Group’, made up of Environment Agency, conservationists, farmers, fishermen and processors has been responsible for formulating a sustainable eel standard. It is early days but policing and enforcing the standard has been poor and led to some blatant abuse. The temptation to use wild instead of farmed because of the price difference has proved to be a challenge.
  • Does this Standard include wild and farmed fish? *
Our comment: The only fish that satisfies the standard is farmed eel sourced from a sustainable elver fishery. It is our belief that all adult wild eels should be allowed the chance to migrate back to the Sargasso Sea to spawn.
  • If you buy eel do you think you are buying from a sustainable approved supplier? *
Our comment: There are only two commercial smokeries that have attained the SEG Sustainable Eel Standard, it is unfortunate that others still prefer to use wild stock.
  • Does your eel supplier offer both sustainable and non-sustainable eel? *
Our comment: It has been our company policy for well over 6 years to only process farmed eel.
  • Do you currently buy smoked eel? *
  • If no would you be prepared to use it if you were convinced it came from a sustainable source?
  • Tick the boxes which, in your opinion, has led to the decline of the adult eel population:- *

    Please tick all that you feel applies.

Final note: It’s possible in the past that combined together all the above have contributed to the decline in eel and elver numbers. But by far the greatest challenge eels face today is loss of habitat and the building of barriers and flood defences.
Over 95% of elvers entering our tidal waters die.
Over 70% of elvers caught on the River Severn last year were used in restocking projects.
Early indications from France indicate that this will be another year (the fifth in a row) of double digit growth in elver numbers.
The ICES red listing of eel is very difficult to understand.
What I do know is that eel is also a political issue and delisting a species can have all sorts of implications, loss of members, support, access, power and most importantly funding.

Thanks very much for taking part!

It’s important that people feel confident that the product they serve is truly sustainable and we will support anyone keen to get eel back on the menu.

If you have alternative views or would like to discuss the matter further do not hesitate to contact me

Dai Francis

1 comment(s)

Nigel Phillips wrote on Monday, December 09 2013

A sustainable method of farming eels would be a major asset to Gloucestershire.