I have been involved in eel research since 1984. Starting from a local perspective on the fisheries in Lake IJsselmeer (the Netherlands), I developed a pan-European view on the long-term population dynamics of the European eel stock, culminating in my 2004 PhD thesis: “Slipping through our hands; population dynamics of the European eel”.
In those same years, I chaired the Eel Working Group, a joint group of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea and the European Inland Fisheries Advisory Committee, from 1996 to 2006 – the period of converting fisheries advancements, into managing the stock sustainably. I had a leading position in the design and development of the European Regulation establishing measures for the recovery of the stock of European eel. Currently, I am employed at the Institute of Freshwater Research at the The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) in Stockholm.
My research interests focus on the assessment and management of the eel fisheries throughout Europe, including historical and cultural aspects, assessment procedures and governance processes, and stock dynamics (in historical times). Trained as mathematical biologist, employed on a stock with major governance problems, and now turning to historical studies with almost no hard data – I have travelled a long way from home.
Here is a small selection:
Dekker W. 2003 Did lack of spawners cause the collapse of the European eel, Anguilla anguilla? Fisheries Management and Ecology, 10: 365–376.
Dekker W. 2004 Slipping through our hands - Population dynamics of the European eel. PhD thesis, 11 October 2004, University of Amsterdam, 186 pp.
Dekker W. 2008. Coming to Grips with the Eel Stock Slip-Sliding Away. pages 335-355 in M.G. Schlechter, N.J. Leonard, and W.W. Taylor, editors. International Governance of Fisheries Eco-systems: Learning from the Past, Finding Solutions for the Future. American Fisheries Society, Symposium 58, Bethesda, Maryland.
Dekker W. 2009 A conceptual management framework for the restoration of the declining European eel stock. Pages 3-19 in J.M. Casselman & D.K. Cairns, editors. Eels at the Edge: science, status, and conservation concerns. American Fisheries Society, Symposium 58, Bethesda, Maryland.
Dekker W. 2010 Post evaluation of eel stock management: a methodology under construction. IMARES report C056/10, 67 pp.
Dekker W. 2016 Management of the eel is slipping through our hands! Distribute control and orchestrate national protection. – ICES Journal of Marine Science, 73: 2442–2452. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/icesjms/fsw094
Dekker W. 2020 The history of commercial fisheries for European eel commenced only a century ago. Fisheries Management and Ecology, 26: 6–19. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/fme.12302
Dekker W. et al. 2009 Worldwide decline of eel resources necessitates immediate action; Quebec Declaration of Concern. Pages 447-448 in J.M. Casselman & D.K. Cairns, editors. Eels at the Edge: science, status, and conservation concerns. American Fisheries Society, Symposium 58, Bethesda, Maryland.
Dekker W., and Beaulaton L. 2016 Climbing back up what slippery slope? Dynamics of the European eel stock and its management in historical perspective. – ICES Journal of Marine Science, 73: 5–13. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/icesjms/fsv132
Dekker W., and Beaulaton L. 2016 Faire mieux que la nature – the history of eel restocking in Europe. Environment and History 22:255–300. http://dx.doi.org/10.3197/096734016X14574329314407