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Eel Fisheries

The harvesting of short-finned eel (Anguilla australis) and long-finned eel (Anguilla reinhardtii) forms the basis of a commercial fishery in Tasmania with an annual catch in the region of 45 tonnes. This is a limited entry fishery comprising of 12 commercial fishing licences with some 30 fishers seasonally employed in the industry. The catch is largely exported as frozen product to Europe, and live product to Asia with some value added product (mainly smoking) destined for the local domestic market. Each of the 12 licence holders has a discrete area to fish. The main capture method is fyke nets, and some downstream trapping of migrating adult eels is also undertaken.

The harvesting of short-finned eel (Anguilla australis) and long-finned eel (Anguilla reinhardtii) forms the basis of a commercial fishery in Tasmania with an annual catch in the region of 45 tonnes. This is a limited entry fishery comprising of 12 commercial fishing licences with some 30 fishers seasonally employed in the industry. The catch is largely exported as frozen product to Europe, and live product to Asia with some value added product (mainly smoked) destined for the local domestic market. Each of the 12 licence holders has a discrete area to fish. The main capture method is fyke nets, and some downstream trapping of migrating adult eels is also undertaken.

Tasmania has the most significant juvenile eel migrations within Australian waters in terms of quality and relative predictability. Dams obstruct these upstream migrations.  The Service undertakes annual harvesting and elver restocking programs, therefore, to promote recruitment into Tasmania's rivers and lakes, thus ensuring the continued sustainability and commercial viability of Tasmania's eel fishery. Large aggregations of juvenile eels returning to freshwater are trapped at Trevallyn in the North and Meadowbank in the South and are used for restocking rivers and lakes to support the wild fishery and also for use in experimental culture trials.

With an increasing demand for juvenile eels to support a rapidly expanding eel industry, Australian and overseas interests are seeking access to Tasmania's juvenile eel resource. The Service makes available a proportion of the annual harvest to these interests by direct negotiation and public tender.

A number of forms are available relating to the licensing and management of the eel fishery. These are listed and can be accessed by clicking on the files below.

Eel Fishery Application Forms

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