Jump to main content


Last Update:2014-01-08

Regulations on Eel Fry Catching Season

The number of eel fry caught in coastal waters around Taiwan has been declining, and the reason for such a decline is still uncertain. However, for the purpose of preserving the livelihood of fishermen, sustaining traditional eel aquaculture and conserving eel resources, the Fisheries Agency promulgated “Regulations on Eel Fry Catching Season” which guides city and county governments to declare rivers in their jurisdictions off-limits for catching adult eel. The goal of this pronouncement is to allow some of the eel fry to migrate upstream and grow in order to rebuild the eel stock.

Emphases of This Policy
  1. The gradual decline of eel fry is presumed to closely connected with global climate change and massive catches of eel fry. Because catching eel fry is one of traditional industries in coastal areas Taiwan in the winter season and an important source of revenue on which many fishermen rely for basic income, the Fisheries Agency has no choice but use this regulation to balance the industry and sustainable utilization of resources.
  2. Based on monthly statistics of eel fry catches from 2008 to 2012, we can judge that the eel fry catching season begins from October to the following April. To balance the livelihood of fishermen and allow part of incoming eel fry to migrate upstream and mature in their habitat, the Fisheries Agency invited delegates from the industry, local government authorities, and the academia for consultation, the said parties reached consensus on the regulation on catching eel fry. The Fisheries Agency then promulgated “Regulations on Eel Fry Catching Season” on September 9, 2013.
  3. The main points of “Regulations on Eel Fry Catching Season” are as follows:
    1. Catching eel fry by any method in the waters three nautical miles from shore, intertidal zones, and estuaries from March 1 to October 31 is forbidden. The following conditions are exceptions:
      1. Catching eel fry in the waters, intertidal zones, and estuaries of Hualien County and Taitung County.
      2. With the approval from regulators in the Central Government for academic research purposes.
    2. Fishermen who catch eel fry during the period when fry catching is not forbidden must comply with the relevant regulations as stipulated in the National Park Law, the Wildlife Conservation Act, the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act , the Fisheries Act and other laws that designate conservation zones and fishing off-limits.
    3. Those who are found to be in violation of the regulation in point one will be fined at least NT$ 30,000 and with maximum of NT$ 150,000 according to the regulations in paragraph 5 Article 65 of the Fisheries Act.
  4. The pronounced period during which fry catching is forbidden has included March, April, and October. The total catch of eel fry in these three months averages about 100,000 fish per year according to the statistics. When left undisturbed, this population of eel fry can migrate upstream to grow in their habitat, and help replenish the eel stock enormously. Because the peak eel fry season could be influenced by climate change and may change its movement pattern accordingly, the Fisheries Agency will therefore review the eel fry season in the future based on the implementation of this pronouncement and adjust the period during which eel fry catching is forbidden and other relevant regulations in a gradual manner.
  5. To allow the eel to mature and migrate to the ocean to spawn, the Fisheries Agency has instructed city and county governments to declare the midstream and downstream of at least one river in their jurisdictions as off-limits for eel catching, meaning that catching eel by any method during the whole year is forbidden. In particular, Yilan County has declared that catching eel in the entire watershed of rivers within the county is forbidden in order to protect habitat of eels and the ecology.
  6. The aquaculture of eel and catching eel fry are important industries in Taiwan. As the eel stock is being depleted by the day, conservation of eel stock is becoming more and more urgent. The promotion of regulations on the eel fry catching season and the conservation of eel habitat is a joint effort by the industry, the government, and the academia. This effort will help the sustainable use of the eel stock and promote better management of this industry.
Fat Footer