Development of Stock Assessment Methods and Strengthening of Resources Management Measures for Tropical Anguillid Eel in Southeast Asia

Proponent : Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC)
Implementing Agency : Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC)

Background

Global demand of anguillid eel is increasing both for consumption and trade. However, appropriate conservation and management of eel species remains as main issues to be addressed globally and within the region. At this juncture, restriction on exporting the tropical anguillid eels at a certain size has been implemented only in two (2) ASEAN Member States (AMS), i.e., Indonesia and the Philippines, despite the fact that the region is home to several species. Inadequate management of resources may result in scarcity that can lead to measures on export ban as applied to European eel species.1 Hence, continued cooperation and coordination within AMS to establish effective resource management for the species is crucial.

It is against this context that an initiative supported by the Government of Japan through the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF) started –Enhancing Sustainable Utilization and Management Scheme of Tropical Anguillid Eel Resources in Southeast Asia. Implemented from 2017 to 2019, the project conducted the surveys to collect basic eel fishery data in selected AMS and the researches to improve survival rate of juvenile eels in aquaculture practices, which culminated in the development of policy recommendations and guidelines to assist AMS in initiating and improving eel resource management practices. However, as informed by this project’s implementation and the recommendations outlined in the final report, further work still needs to be done.

What is the project aiming for?

The first stage has mapped the utilization of tropical anguillid eels across the region in addition to developing a method for catch data collection. Building on the earlier achievements, this project aims to further formulate effective management measures for the sustainable use of tropical anguillid eels in the region. It proposes to undertake the following outputs:

  • Collection of catch data and biological/ecological information for the estimation of eel resources stocks;
  • Development of mathematical/statistical methods for estimating tropical anguillid eel resources; and
  • Dissemination of developed methods of the stock assessment of tropical anguillid eel to AMS.

It is expected that the established effective management measures will be harmonized to secure sustainable use and long-term persistence of the said species in AMS.

Tropical anguillid eels are currently under discussion for regulation in CITES. Since 2009, the European eel Anguilla anguilla has been listed in Appendix II of CITES and was subjected to international trade restrictions. Tropical anguillid eels may also be subjected to CITES restrictions if resource abundance is at critically low levels. It is envisioned that the findings and information from this report will help in the sustainable use and management of tropical anguillid eels in Southeast Asia.

Foreword by Kom Silapajarn, Ph.D
Secretary-General of SEAFDEC
in report of JAIF Project “Enhancing Sustainable Utilization and Management Scheme of
Tropical Anguillid Eel Resources in Southeast Asia
SEAFDEC, 2019

This project supports the Strategic Plan of Action on ASEAN Cooperation on Fisheries 2016-2020, which focuses on management, sustainable utilization and conservation of natural resources. Moreover, it is expected to contribute to ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint 2025 towards increasing fishery/aquaculture production and enabling sustainable production. As per the work plan, the project will be implemented for a period of two years from 2020 to 2022.

30 May 2020