Eels are an essential part of the Po Delta’s heritage, particularly due to traditional fishing that takes place in this region, the culture it conveys and all the economic and social development it has enabled over the centuries. The decline in European eel populations and the need to take conservation measures are engaging many stakeholders in this area (scientists, decision-makers, fishermen, consumers, etc.), as in many other Biosphere Reserves.

As part of a very popular festival that has been taking place for 20 years in the village of Comacchio, the Po Delta Biosphere Reserve hosted a conference on eels.

This conference aimed to promote the exchange of experiences amongst European Biosphere Reserves in which projects are underway in order to protect eels and for whom traditional fishing represents an important element of both the economic chain and traditional culture of communities.

Some representatives of the Bassin de la Dordogne Biosphere Reserve in France, Terres de l’Ebre in Spain and Lake Vänern Archipelago in Sweden were invited to present their experiences on this dual issue of eel conservation and its exploitation by traditional fishing.

Following this conference and the first very productive exchanges, the four Biosphere Reserves decided to continue the process of sharing and joint reflection on all issues related to eels. It is for example considered to launch an eel observation and monitoring network amongst the European Biosphere Reserves.

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