France and Spain still have no experimental fishing arrangement to share the Gulf of Gascogne’s fragile anchovy stocks. Instead, at ministers’ talks in Brussels, they have been snapping at each other. This coming Sunday was supposed to have been the start date for a two-month trial. Research vessels would accompany a reduced number of both countries’ boats out to sea for scientific ends. Otherwise, 2007 was set aside as a ‘nets off anchovy’ year.
But Elena Espinosa said Spain suspects the French have not respected that accord, and have already been out catching anchovy. “We’re going to tell that to the EU fisheries Commissioner — see if the scientific work on quotas agreed last December can be carried out.”
If the anchovy has not been ensured enough recovery time in which to reproduce, the eel did not fare much better. The fisheries ministers of the EU countries failed to agree on a plan to save endangered eels. Overfishing of elvers, as the babies are called, is putting pressure on this specie as well.
It can fetch a thousand euros per kilo in Asian markets. Conservationist reports warn that anchovy and elvers face a real prospect of disappearing, along with the jobs of the people who go after them.