Poaching of eels at heart of political scandal in Sweden

One of the Prime Minister’s closest collaborators admitted that he had illegally fished specimens of this critical endangered species of extinction and lied to agents who have come to inspect his boat.

By Anne-Françoise VOIST (Malmö (Sweden), regional correspondent)

As every year, at the end of 2022, the World Fund for Nature (WWF) implored the Swedes to give up serving smoked eel at the table, Christmas Eve. This delicacy is particularly appreciated in the south of the kingdom, especially by the ancients. The fish is sold by the roads and in certain fishmongers. For NGOs, it is a scandal: the eel of Europe (eel eel) is a species classified in critical danger of extinction.

Now here is a scandal at the highest level of the State has just shed light on a practice, poaching, still very widespread and whose consequences are disastrous for the eel, according to the agency of the and water. He implies the Prime Minister’s right arm, Peter Magnus Nilsson, former editorial writer of the economic newspaper Dagens Industri.

In a message on Facebook, on January 18, Mr. Nilsson revealed that he had been caught in the act in September 2021, when he had just fishing fifteen eels. Questioned by representatives of the Water and Sea Agency, the ex-journalist said, twice, that the traps did not belong to him, before admitting everything in early January, pushing the opposition to Parliament to require his resignation.

level historically low

Monday, January 23, the head of government, Ulf Krissels, admitted that the acts of his collaborator were “silly”, but do not justify his departure: “People sometimes commit idiots”, noted the first Minister, hoping to put an end to the outcry caused by the confessions of the former journalist, who is unanimous against him.

Especially since in his message, Mr. Nilsson affirms that the sea and water agency has seen “comforting signs [indicating that] the stocks of eels increase in Swedish waters”. However, it is not, says Sofia Brockmark, Advisor in peaches to the agency: “In addition to being at a historically low level, we see no sign of improvement.” On the contrary, even: stocks European eels (eel eel) have decreased by 95 % since the 1960s.

In northern Europe, the situation is even worse, specifies Henrik Svedäng, researcher in marine biology at the University of Stockholm: “The decline reaches 99 %, if we compare the current recruitment of eels with the period ranging from 1960 to 1979. “In Sweden, overfishing, but also hydroelectric power plants are pointed out.

Introduction of fry

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/Media reports cited above.