Native eels

The Moreton Bay region is home to two native eels, the common Longfin Eel (Anguilla reinhardtii) and the Shortfin Eel (Anguilla australlis).

Native eels play an important role in freshwater ecosystems as a predator that helps regulate other species populations. Their natural diet consists of insects, fish, yabbies, shrimps, frogs and waterfowl, including ducklings and cygnets. While the natural feeding behaviour of the native eel may be distressing to witness, their role as a predator helps regulate ecosystem health.

The native eels can be identified through size and appearance with the Longfin Eel ranging from 60cm to 150cm with an olive-green to grey-brown upper body, and the Shortfin Eel ranging from 50cm to 90cm in length with a dark chocolate-brown or grey-brown upper body.

The native eel population size is heavily influenced by precipitation events with heavy rain flushing the eels out of lake systems to oceans where they will spawn. In the case that the eels are within a landlocked body of water they can grow up 3m in size. Native eels are also capable of traveling overland for short distances from waterbody to waterbody.

Fun fact

As part of their breeding behaviour, the adult eels migrate from catchment habitats out to the ocean to spawn. The adults do not return but the young will return to eastern Australian in about one years’ time after breeding. 

What is Council doing?

Fishing is prohibited in Council-controlled waterbodies where “no fishing’ signs are present. Due to the native eels significance as a predator in their ecosystem Council does not cull or remove eels from controlled waterbodies. 

What can residents do?

Residents can ensure the protection of the native eel through checking the state rules and regulations for recreational fishing in fresh bodies of water. Do not attempt to feed the native eels or other species, this causes a nuisance to residents and harm species within the ecosystem.