Anguillids: conserving a global fisherya


  • aThis paper was presented at the 6th World Fisheries Congress, Edinburgh, in 2012 (sponsored by the FSBI). As a result, its content may not fall within the normal scope of the Journal of Fish Biology.

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Concern has increased in recent years over the sustainability of anguillid populations worldwide in the face of sustained consumer demand. This is as true of the more numerous tropical species as it is for the better known temperate species. There are, however, critical gaps in knowledge of anguillid biology and ecology, and these hold back measures designed to conserve and enhance anguillid populations, including aquaculture. Developing a more integrated understanding of anguillid biology, and resolving challenges faced by stakeholders and policy makers, is now more urgent than ever. World experts from Japan, the U.S.A., Canada, the European Union and New Zealand led a 3 day event where >200 scientists drawn from >30 countries across the globe converged to share their experience and expert knowledge of anguillids. The session covered the full range of issues affecting anguillid stocks across the globe, and also highlighted advances in the understanding of fundamental aspects of anguillid biology. Overall, 49 oral presentations and 68 posters were presented and, while these were dominated by Anguilla anguilla, Anguilla rostrata and Anguilla japonica, a further eight anguillid species were represented. What was experienced by all was the facilitation of a more integrated understanding of anguillid biology, and how this understanding can interface with the challenges faced by fishermen, consumers, engineers, producers and managers. The highlights are reviewed, important trends in anguillid stocks and research identified and the consensus for future science and management direction reported.