European eel remains Critically Endangered in latest IUCN Red List assessment

The status of European eel remains “Critically Endangered” on the Red List of threatened species. This was announced today by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).  The previous assessment dates back to 2014. The assessment was carried out by the IUCN Anguillid Eel Specialist Group (AESG).

According to the group, the European eel has a life cycle that makes application of the Red List criteria challenging, but assessment of the different life stages confirms that the population remains Critically Endangered. All the life stages, from the larval leptocephali to the mature silver eels have shown tremendous decline, and though some improvement can be seen in glass eel numbers we cannot be sure it will carry through to recruitment in the future.

The confirmation of the status 'critically endangered' does not come as a surprise, because the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) announced in November 2019 that the condition of the eel remains critical and recovery is only possible if all anthropogenic mortality should be reduced. The European Commission also ruled in February in its evaluation that the condition of the eel remains critical. European eel recovery is going to take a long time and we now need much more consistent efforts to protect the species throughout its geographical range.

Let's make a difference for these species and others like them! Join World Fish Migration Day and make a change for the fish we love.


For more information: