Eel fishery management areas

Fishery licences and symbols

A primary commercial fishing licence authorises fishers for both the adult and juvenile components.

The adult fishery is designated by the symbol E and the juvenile fishery by the symbol JE.

Management areas – adult eels

Commercial fishing of adult eel may only be trapped from the following waters as stated on their primary commercial fishing licence:

  • waters in a private, artificially created impoundment (e.g. a farm dam)
  • waters in a public impoundment formed by a dam (e.g. Cressbrook Dam).

Most adult eel trapping occurs in privately owned farm dams rather than public waters. Currently, public water management agencies allow adult eel trapping in 8 public impoundments in Queensland.

Natural freshwaters, such as rivers, streams, creeks, lagoons and natural swamps, and waters impounded by other structures, such as weirs, are not open to adult eel trapping. They are refuges that allow mature adults to return to the sea to spawn without being exposed to fishing pressure.

Management areas – juvenile eels

In Queensland, 23 rivers are open to commercial fishing of juvenile eels:

  • Albert
  • Barron
  • Brisbane
  • Burdekin
  • Burnett
  • Burrum
  • Caboolture
  • Coomera
  • Currumbin
  • Fitzroy
  • North Johnstone
  • South Johnstone
  • Kolan
  • Logan
  • Maroochy
  • Mary
  • Mooloolah
  • Mulgrave
  • Nerang
  • Noosa
  • North Pine
  • South Pine
  • Tully.

Licensed fishers can collect juvenile eels:

  • at or downstream of the most downstream dam or weir – for the purpose of stating where juvenile eels may be taken, a tidal barrage is not considered a weir
  • up to 200m either side of the mouths of the rivers open to collection – in approved rivers, collecting is allowed in tributaries that enter the main river downstream of the most downstream dam or weir.

Because collecting activities could disrupt the migration of other fish, collecting is not permitted within 10m—in any direction—of the openings to the entry bays of an active fishway, except with approved flow traps. An active fishway has water flowing through the entrances.

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