Over 5 tonnes of smuggled glass eels seized in Europe this year
In total 154 suspected smugglers were arrested and all seized eels were reintroduced into their natural habitat, which is crucial for the survival of the species. This year’s Operation Lake, initiated by Europol and together with Eurojust, INTERPOL and the EU Wildlife / CITES Enforcement Group has seen the involvement of 10 countries in the 448 operations across Europe: Albania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Czechia, France, Germany, North Macedonia, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland.
From October 2018 until April 2019 and under the umbrella of the European Union Action Plan against wildlife trafficking, a wide range of activities have been carried out in order uncover every possible illicit practice linked to the fishing of glass eels, such as checking luggage and cargo at ports and airports with international destinations. Law enforcement also conducted cross-border investigations into European-based Asian criminal networks. Operation Lake aims to combat trafficking of endangered species in the EU and to dismantle violent organised crime groups involved in associated illegal activities, such as environmental crime, smuggling, money laundering, tax evasion and document counterfeiting.