The European Commission in Luxembourg is urging France and Spain to agree on arrangements for experimental anchovy fishery in the Bay of Biscay
An agreement on the way the fishery, decided by the Council of Fisheries Ministers last December, should have been reached by 12 April as the fishery was due to start on 15 April, but so far has not.
Anchovy is a short-lived species, and stock levels are highly dependent upon annual recruitment (quantity of young fish joining stock each year).
For the last two years, low levels of recruitment have led to the fishery being closed on scientific advice early in the season in order to protect the severely depleted stock.
In the meantime, EU ministers have also failed to come to an agreement about the imposing of strict limits on catching eels to stop.
In 2005, scientists demanded a Europe-wide ban on eel fishing. Eel populations have dropped to their lowest level since 1980 and and the species is seriously in danger of becoming extinct in Europe.
After a long debate between EU governments and the executive Commission, no deal was struck and any decision has been postponed until next month.
The Commission’s original plan, proposed in October 2005, envisaged EU fishermen stopping catching eels for six months each year.
European Commission – Fisheries