American Eel Sustainability Association, Inc

American Eel Sustainability Association, Inc.

Advocates for a well-managed fishery

Welcome to the American Eel Sustainability Association - a group dedicated to providing balanced information to government decision makers managing the American Eel Fishery. Created to represent fisherman, processors and other parties, AESA promotes the benefit of a long-term sustainable American Eel population through responsible fishery rules and habitat protection. We dispel myth with fact, answer frequently asked questions and share the very latest news relevant to our industry. Below you can read just some of the pertinent data:

In 2007, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Finds that Eel Populations Appear Stable.

In summary, the best available scientific and commercial information indicates that despite a population reduction over the past century, eels remain very abundant and occupy diverse habitats over an exceptionally broad geographic range. Because of the species’ unique life history traits, areas which have experienced depletions may experience a "rescue effect" allowing for continued occupation of available areas without concern for genetic fitness. Trends in abundance over recent decades vary among locations and life stages, showing decreases in some areas, and increases or no trends in other areas. Limited records of glass eel recruitment do not show declines that would signal recent declines in annual reproductive success or the effect of new or increased threats. Taken as a whole, a clear trend cannot be detected in species-wide abundance during recent decades, and while acknowledging that there have been large declines in abundance from prehistoric and historic times, we have determined the species currently appears stable.

In 2011, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Reaffirmed its position that an ESA listing is not warranted on all issues except climate change, which it will evaluate further.

On the basis of our determination under section 4(b)(3)(A) of the Act, we determine that the petition presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that listing the American eel throughout its entire range may be warranted. This finding is based on information provided under factor E (changes in oceanic conditions due to climate change). We determine that the information provided under factors A (habitat loss, degradation or curtailment of habitat or range), B (overutilization for scientific, commercial, or educational purposes), C (disease or predation), D (inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms), and E (hydropower turbines, contaminants, electro-magnetic fields, acoustic disturbance, or seaweed harvesting) is not substantial.

ASMFC Stock Assessment Indices Shows Stable Young-of-Year Eel Recruitment Since 1987.

Figure 6.1
Figure 6.1.

GLM-standardized, short-term index of abundance for YOY American eels along the Atlantic Coast, 2000 - 2010. The error bars represent the standard errors about the estimates.

Figure 6.2
Figure 6.2.

GLM-standardized, long-term index of abundance for YOY American eels along the Atlantic Coast, 1987 - 2009. The error bars represent the standard errors about the estimates.

40-Year Coast-Wide Adult Eel Index Shows that Eel Stocks are Stable.

Figure 6.3
Figure 6.3.

GLM-standardized index of abundance for yellow-phase American eels along the Atlantic Coast, 1967 - 2010 (40-plus-year index). The error bars represent the standard errors about the estimates.

Figure 6.4
Figure 6.4.

GLM-standardized index of abundance for yellow-phase American eels along the Atlantic Coast, 1981 - 2010 (30-year index). The error bars represent the standard errors about the estimates.

Figure 6.5
Figure 6.5.

GLM-standardized index of abundance for yellow-phase American eels along the Atlantic Coast, 1991 - 2010 (20-year index). The error bars represent the standard errors about the estimates.

ASMFC DB-SRA Model shows Eel Population During the last 15 years Increased 41%.

The data presented in Figure 6.19 of the ASMFC Stock Assessment shows the actual biomass estimates from the DB-SRA model. It shows that since 1900 the total U.S. biomass has averaged 3,311 metric tons and today we are at 56% of this 112-year average. The inset shows that stocks hit a modern low in 1997 and have steadily increased 41% to 1,846 metric tons since that time.

Depletion-Based Stock Reduction Analysis model Figure 1

Depletion-Based Stock Reduction Analysis model Figure 2

Extensive 2012 Canada's Fisheries and Oceans Report shows eel fishing in Atlantic Canada occurring in less than 10% of eel's habitat.

ASMFC DRBA Model

Canada's Fisheries and Oceans undertook an extensive study of American Eel Fishing Pressure in Atlantic Canada and found "Research, exploratory, and commercial fisheries suggest that eels are common throughout Sheltered waters on the east coast of Canada. Waters within 1 km of an eel fishing location comprise 6.4% of Sheltered waters, 0.7% of Semi-exposed waters, and 0.01% of Exposed waters in the study area." A similar study for the United States is underway.

AESA, Inc. | P.O. Box 252 | Norristown, PA 19404 | Phone: (610) 277-4900 | Fax: (610) 277 4051