What are the Eels Regulations?
With regard to eel management in the UK (and specifically England and Wales), there are two key pieces of relevant legislation:
- In response to a significant European-wide decline in eel stocks, the European Union has adopted Council Regulation No 1100/2007/EC of 18 September 2007 establishing measures for the recovery of the stock of European eel (the ‘EC Eel Regulation’). This regulation requires Member States to develop national Eel Management Plans, with the objective of “reducing anthropogenic mortalities so as to permit with high probability the escapement to the sea of at least 40 % of the silver eel biomass relative to the best estimate of escapement that would have existed if no anthropogenic influences had impacted the stock”.
- Implementation of the EC Eel Regulation in England and Wales has been facilitated by the introduction of The Eels (England and Wales) Regulations 2009 (the ‘Eels Regulations’). The Eels Regulations, often incorrectly referred to as the Eel Regulations, is a Statutory Instrument (2009 No. 3344) which came into force on 15th January 2010. The Eels Regulations confers powers to the Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales to enforce eel protection measures on responsible persons, with a view to meeting the objectives of the Eel Management Plans and the EC Eel Regulation. In particular, there are requirements for the provision of adequate screening and fish passage at diversion structures (e.g. water intakes or weirs).
How can BUG help?
BUG has specialist knowledge of the Eels Regulations and is able to provide advice on all aspects of compliance, from eel population risk to Cost Benefit Analysis of proposed solutions.
Dr Andy Harrison has considerable experience of eel screening and passage compliance assessments, having undertaken site appraisals at more than 100 intakes throughout the UK, ranging from small gravity fed river intakes to large estuarine power station abstractions.
Andy was also the lead author on the recently published UK Water Industry Research publication ‘Implementation of the Eels Regulations‘. This document, prepared for the water sector, provides a comprehensive review and critique of the Eels Regulations in England and Wales, with particular emphasis on the Cost Benefit Analysis approach and the current Regulatory position.
In addition to expertise with regard to the legal framework for eel protection, BUG has a comprehensive eel survey capability including:
- Bespoke sampling methodologies developed to assess glass eel recruitment to estuaries.
- Elver traps for monitoring riverine recruitment
- Electric fishing and trapping for adult yellow eels
- Custom fyke nets for monitoring downstream migrating silver eels
- Entrainment sampling to assess water abstraction impacts
- Radio and acoustic tagging and tracking capability