Indonesian Shortfin Eel

Anguilla bicolor
Indonesian Shortfin Eel - Marinewise © 2024 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Anguilla bicolor
Other names Bicolour Eel, Freshwater Eel, Indian Ocean Eel, Indian Short-finned Eel, Northern Eel, Shortfin Eel
Size Up to 1.1 m (3.6 ft)
Weight Up to 2.75 kg (6 lb)


Habitat & AU Distribution Fresh & brackish waters amongst rock pools, estuaries, creeks & tidal flats often in muddy areas
Depth Range 0 - 10 m (33 ft)
Indonesian Shortfin Eel Distribution

Interesting Info

  • The Indonesian Shortfin Eel is a species of freshwater eel that is native to Indonesia and other parts of Southeast Asia. The eel was introduced to Australia in the early 20th century for aquaculture purposes and has since established populations in Western Australia and parts of the Northern Territory.
  • It has a long, slimy, scale-less body with a dark olive-green or brownish colour, a pointed snout, small eyes, sharp teeth, a long dorsal fin, short anal fin, and small pectoral and pelvic fins. Its tail is long, thin and tapers to a point, giving it a sleek and streamlined appearance.
  • The eel is a nocturnal feeder and feeds primarily on small fish, insects, and crustaceans.
  • The eel has been identified as a potential carrier of several diseases that can affect native fish species in Australia.
  • The reproductive habits of the eel are poorly understood, but it is known to spawn in the ocean before the larvae migrate to freshwater habitats.
  • The Indonesian Shortfin Eel is considered an invasive species in Australia, as it can outcompete native fish species for resources and disrupt local ecosystems. Efforts to control the spread of the eel in Australia include the use of barriers, electric fishing, and biological control methods such as the release of natural predators.
  • They are a long-lived species, known to live up to 30 years.
Species Interaction

Commercial & Recreational Fishing

The Indonesian Shortfin Eel is considered an invasive species in Australia, and as such, it is subject to regulations that restrict its commercial and recreational fishing. It is a popular fish to catch recreationally and commercially in certain parts of Southeast Asia.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Anguilliformes

Family: Anguillidae

Genus: Anguilla

Species: Anguilla bicolor pacifica

Conservation Status

In Australia, the conservation status of the Indonesian shortfin eel is not specifically assessed or listed under the EPBC Act (Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999). It is considered an invasive species and not protected.

Fish Taste Quality

Indonesian shortfin eel are considered a delicacy in many countries. The meat is described as having a rich, slightly sweet, and oily flavour, with a texture that is often described as soft and tender.

Taste Rating: 3/5

How to catch
Indonesian Shortfin Eel

Catch Difficulty: Intermediate

Tackle: Patternoster Rig, Running Sinker Rig

Bait: Fresh cut flesh baits, Pilchards, Prawns, Worms, Live minnow

Technique: Keep bait on the bottom, Keep bait close to structure

Popularity: Targeted