Report on the eel stock and eel fishery in the Netherlands in 2011

M. de Graaf, S.M. Bierman

Research output: Book/ReportReportProfessional


Eel fisheries in the Netherlands occur in coastal waters, estuaries, larger and smaller lakes, rivers, polders, etc. Management of eel stock and fisheries has been an integral part of the long tradition in manipulating water courses (polder construction, river straightening, ditches and canals, etc.). Governmental control of the fishery is restricted to on the one hand a set of general rules (gear restrictions, size restrictions, for course fish: closed seasons), and on the other hand site-specific licensing. Within the licensed fishing area, and obeying the general rules, fishermen are currently free to execute the fishery in whatever way they want. Since 1/1/2010 there is a general registration of landings, a general registration of fishing efforts has not been implemented yet. In recent years, licensees in state-owned waters are obliged to participate in so-called Fish Stock Management Committees [‘Visstand Beheer Commissies’ VBC,], in which commercial fisheries, sports fisheries and water managers are represented. The VBC is responsible for the development of a regional Fish Stock Management Plans. The Management Plans are currently not subject to general objectives or quality criteria. The future of VBC and their role in fish stock management is under debate. Until April 2011 the total fishery involves approx. 200 companies, with an estimated total catch of nearly 442 tonnes in 2010. However, on 1 April 2011 a large part of the fishery was closed due to high PCB-levels in the eel (Fig. 1). This closure has affected ~50 fishing companies catching 170 tonnes of eel in 2010, roughly a third of the annual landings of inland waters in the Netherlands.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationIJmuiden
Number of pages54
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Publication series

NameRapport / IMARES Wageningen UR


  • eels
  • european eels
  • eel culture
  • fisheries
  • fish stocks
  • fishery resources


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