European Eel

Scientific name: Anguilla anguilla

Family: Anguillidae

Species: Anguilla anguilla (European Eel)

              Anguilla rostrata (American Eel)


Eels are catadromous. They live in freshwater as brown eel, when fully grown (males 6 years and females 10 25 years of age) they turn the colouration to be shiny silver and are called silver eels. At this stage they move towards the sea to their spawning grounds in the Sargasso Sea. After hatching the larvae are passively thriving with the Golfstream towards Europe and they reach Europe after 1-3 years having a length of 8-10 cm. At that stage they turn into elvers and migrate into fresh- and brackwater habitats were they grow and become brown eel.

The European Eel is to be found in freshwater and brackish water from Northern Africa, The Mediterranean- and Black Sea, the Baltic Sea, UK, Ireland and Iceland up to mid Norway.

The European Eel is feeding on fish, bristle worms and other kind of molluscs


Despite the fact that huge efforts are made in succeeding artificial reproduction of eel projects have failed so far to feed larvae for more than 20 days. Currently velvers are catched and distributed to aquacultural farms.

Eel farming is managed mostly as a All-in/All-out production in tanks with water temperatures between 24-27 degrees Celsius. Velvers are put in the tanks having a weight at 0,3 g and are slaughtered after 8-10 months of age having a weight of 140-150g. For other markets the eel is harvested at 300 g of weight after 12-14 months. In Eel production a very huge variation in growth can be experienced. After 1 year the weight can vary from 2 g up to 300 g and after 2 years from 5-800g.

Eels demand extraordinary high quality of feeds, having high nutrient specifications with good digestibility securing growth and maintaining a constant high purity and water quality.

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