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Commercial Fisheries--American Eel

Learn about commercial harvesting of the American eel.

American Eels in a cooler

All commercial eel fishers that harvest American eel Anguilla rostrata from the freshwaters of the state of Florida are required to have an American Eel Permit, as well as a commercial fishing license. Reporting of American eel harvest is a mandatory requirement of the permit. Please go to the American Eel Permit article to download a permit application form.

Please refer to Chapter 68A-23.015 of the Florida Administrative Code for regulatory information.

Eel life stages, in order:

Glass eels: transparent juvenile eels that migrate into brackish water from the ocean. In Florida waters, these eels are usually between 1.5- and 2.5-inches in length.

Elvers: glass eels become pigmented as they remain in brackish water or move into fresh waters. In Florida these eels, now known as elvers, are usually between 3-and 9-inches in length and are green-brown in color.

Yellow eels: as elvers grow larger, they transform into sexually immature adults known as yellow eels. They have a yellow-green to olive-brown color. It is at this life stage the eel is often captured in Florida's commercial eel pot fishery.

Silver eels: sexually mature adult eels that are silver in color. They have a thicker skin, a fattened body, and enlarged eyes. These eels migrate out to sea in the fall to reproduce.

Do you want to know more about American eels?
Visit the Freshwater Fisheries Research section and the Freshwater Fisheries Management section.