Production technology for eels

Australian research indicates that longfin eels have excellent potential for pond–based growout
August 23, 2005

Research at Australia’s Freshwater Fisheries and Aquaculture Centre (FFAC),Walkamin indicates that longfin eels have excellent potential for pond–based growout.


Several aspects of the eel's husbandry were investigated and it was found that:


v       Weaning of glass eels to a formulated diet is best performed using fish roe as an initial diet, progressively replaced by crumble over at least 2 weeks.


v       Culture of elvers is best performed in tanks on flow through or recirculation, in dark conditions, minimal current and generous oxygen supply.


v       Tank–based elver culture should be applied until elvers reach 5 to 10g before transfer to ponds.


v       Densities of no less than 60kg/m³ are recommended for uniform growth of elvers in tanks.

v       Handling of elvers should be minimised and always followed by salt bathing to reduce risk of health problems and disease.


v       Shelter appears to be important in maximising growth and survival of elvers in tanks.

v       Pond growth of eels is more uniform at densities above 50kg/m³.


v       Growth of pond cultured eels is variable, and may be broadly represented by the following statistics - 10% achieve 100g+ within 6 months, 25% achieve 100g + within 12 months, 30% achieve 100g+ within 18 months, 30% are very slow growing.


v       Water temperature of 27° C to 30° C is optimal for growth of longfin eels.

Funded by Fisheries Research & Development Council (FRDC) and Australian Research Council (ARC) (2001 Strategic Partnerships with Industry - Research & Training (SPIRT) Scheme), the project was initiated at a time of strong interest from Japan and Taiwan in exploiting resources of glass eel in Australia. This interest led to development of several research projects coordinated by Fisheries Research & Development Council (FRDC) and the Australia New Zealand Eel Reference Group (ANZERG).


The project formed part of a broader initiative to investigate adult eel populations, glass eel resources and aquaculture technologies for both shortfin (Anguilla australis) and longfin eels (Anguilla reinhardtii) and along the east coast of Australia. The project was a component of a collaborative program involving fisheries agencies in Queensland, NSW, Victoria and Tasmania.


[Source: Queensland Government Dept of Primary Industries and Fisheries.]