Dutch fishermen say ban of endangered eel "will obliterate family businesses"
The endangered eel gets a short reprieve as of Thursday when domestic catches will be banned for 60 days in a move Dutch fishermen say threatens their survival.The Hague -- A delicacy in the Netherlands where it is eaten smoked on bread, the endangered eel gets a short reprieve as of Thursday when domestic catches will be banned for 60 days in a move fishermen say threatens their survival.
The ban, aiming to boost dwindling eel numbers, "will obliterate family businesses that have earned a living from fishing for many generations," said the Dutch professional fisherman's association.
Its members have blasted the measure as "incomprehensible" and threatened to challenge it in court if it goes ahead, saying they risk losing half their annual business in the peak eel fishing months of October and November.
"Fishermen earn 50 percent of their turnover during the months affected by the ban," association spokesman Han Walder told AFP.
And while the government would make available EUR 700,000 (one million dollars) a year to compensate 240 fishing businesses affected by the ban, "that amounts to just EUR 1,000 per company per month", he said.
The Dutch parliament is scheduled to vote on the plan on Tuesday, and the agriculture and environment ministry said while some parties had submitted motions on the topic, none had asked for the ban to be lifted.
"The ban on eel fishing will definitely go ahead as planned on 1 October," ministry spokeswoman Cindy Heijdra told AFP.
Announcing the 1 October to 30 November ban earlier this year, agriculture and environment minister Gerda Verburg conceded: "It is a big sacrifice for fishermen.
"But it is also in the interests of the industry that the eel population is allowed to recover," she said.
AFP / Expatica