Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date



American Eel (Anguilla rostrata) is a valuable commercial species along the Atlantic coast of North America from New Brunswick to Florida. Landings from Chesapeake Bay typically represent 60% of the annual United States commercial harvest (ASMFC 2012). American Eel is also important to the recreational fishery as it is often used live as bait for Striped Bass (Morone saxatilis) and Cobia (Rachycentron canadum). In 2021, Chesapeake Bay commercial landings of American Eel (284,297 lbs) were 87% of the U.S. landings of yellow eel (personal communication from the National Marine Fisheries Service, Fisheries Statistics Division). Since the 1980s, harvest along the U.S. Atlantic Coast has declined, with similar patterns occurring in the Canadian Maritime Provinces (Meister and Flagg 1997). The American Eel Benchmark Stock Assessment report (ASMFC 2012) established that the American Eel is depleted in U.S. waters; the most recent American Eel Benchmark Stock Assessment (ASMFC 2023) confirmed that this stock remains depleted and lower than what was found in the 2017 stock assessment update (ASMFC 2017).




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