Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date



Fisheries management techniques are not often applied to American eels because basic biological information is not well known. Unknown biological parameters such as variation in growth rates and length at age have complicated stock assessment and management efforts. Though American eel are not usually considered a sport fish, their ubiquity and readiness to take a bait leads them to be caught by recreational fishermen (Collette and Klein-MacPhee, 2002). Young American eel are also used as a baitfish in coastal areas (Jenkins and 4 Burkhead, 1993.) Absence of basic population dynamics data has hampered attempts at evaluation of regional exploitation rates (Social Research for Sustainable Fisheries, 2002). Additionally, relatively few studies have addressed the recruitment of glass eels to Atlantic coast estuaries from the Sargasso Sea spawning grounds. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) adopted the Interstate Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for the American eel in November 1999. The FMP focuses on increasing the states’ efforts to collect data on American eel and the fishery it supports through both fishery dependent and fishery independent studies. To this end, member jurisdictions (including the PRFC) agreed to implement an annual abundance survey for young of year (YOY) American eels. The survey is intended to “…characterize trends in annual recruitment of young of year eels over time [to produce a] qualitative appraisal of the annual recruitment of American eel to the U.S. Atlantic coast (ASMFC, 1999). These surveys began as pilot surveys in 2000 with full implementation by the 2001 season. Survey results will provide critical data on eel coastal recruitment success and further understanding of American eel population dynamics.



American Eel, Potomac River, Anguilla rostrata, Fisheries


Award NA05NMF4741062 (July 1, 2005 to June 30, 2006) from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U. S. Department of Commerce.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.