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Thierry Marx, Mauro Colagreco, Grégory Coutanceau, Cédric Béchade, Olivier Roellinger… The list is still long. In total, more than 3,500 chefs, including around a hundred individually, 580 in chateau relays and 2,000 hoteliers and restaurateurs from Ile-de-France have decided to stand together. Everyone having made the same decision, that of no longer cooking a product, a fish “critically endangered” : eel.
“I commit to no longer serving as an eel” : The message is clear. Many chefs spoke out on their social networks and shared their choice to give up cooking eel. The reason ? The disappearance over time of this fish.
The initiative was launched by the Ethic Ocean association. The objective is to reduce eel fishing to preserve the species as explained in TF1 the biologist and former president of the National Museum of Natural History Gilles Bœuf. “We condemn the Japanese and Norwegians who kill whales to eat them. Let’s look at our plate! Let’s stop fishing for eel, this fascinating fish which deserves our respect and admiration.” A campaign sponsored by Olivier Roellinger, former chef, was therefore launched. It only took a few days for many big names in gastronomy to follow the movement like Thierry Marx and Mauro Colagreco for example.
Although the eel was very abundant until the 1970s, it has now almost disappeared from waterways. Victim in particular of overfishing, glass eels sometimes sell at high prices, reaching up to 5,000 euros per kilo on the Asian black market. A rare commodity worth gold. Moreover, according to Europol, 100 tonnes of glass eels are illegally exported each year from Europe.
Faced with these conditions, the eel is today considered a fish “critically endangered”. This is why, on Wednesday, in a report released by scientists from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (CIEN), they recommended completely suspending eel fishing. France also responded favorably to this request “by two devices: quotas are imposed on glass eels only (not on other stages of the eel), and part of these, taken by French fishermen, are sold to other European countries to repopulate their watercourse”explains TF1. Will these measures make it possible to safeguard the future of the eel?