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River Thames: Angling

Volume 508: debated on Thursday 25 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on what evidence the decision was taken to restrict the eel-fishing season in the Thames; and if he will place in the Library a copy of that evidence. (324109)

To ensure compliance with the European Eel Regulation (EC) No 1100/2007, the Eels (England and Wales) Regulations 2009 (No. 3344) establishing measures for the recovery of the stock of European eel came into force on the 15 January 2010.

As part of the Eels Regulations, close seasons have been introduced to curtail fishing effort at times of particular pressure on the stock: 26 May 2010 to 14 February 2011 for eels 12 centimetres or less, and 1 October 2010 to 31 March 2011 for all other eels.

The 2010 close seasons were set nationally and coincide with peak runs for elvers and with the main silver eel net fishing season. The close seasons will be in force for one year to provide time to assess stocks in each river basin.

In 2011, both adult eel and elver close seasons will be set through Environment Agency (EA) byelaws and will be specific to individual river basins to match local circumstances. The EA met with representatives of Thames eel fishermen in January this year to discuss the revision of byelaws.

A copy of the Statutory Instrument together with the Explanatory Memorandum, which provides information to support the measures introduced through the Eels (England and Wales) Regulations 2009, has been placed in the Library.