The fishery focuses on harvesting eel stocks in Victorian coastal river basins south of the Great Dividing Range. Short-finned eels are found throughout the State, but long-finned eels are only found in eastern Victoria.
There are three types of eel fisheries permitted in Victoria: wild harvest, stock enhanced and intensive aquaculture (although no intensive aquaculture is currently taking place).
The fishery is managed under the Victorian Eel Fishery Management Plan and is input managed, with limited entry, gear restrictions and water allocation as the main controls. The management plan was developed by The Victorian Fisheries Authority in collaboration with a stakeholder-based steering committee and finalised and declared in August 2017.
No legal minimum lengths or closed seasons are applied to eel fishing in Victoria.
Commercial fishers are only permitted to use fyke nets to take eels and the number, dimensions and mesh size of fyke nets is prescribed by regulation.
Restrictions on the use of fyke nets includes a mesh size of not less than 15mm and not greater than 39mm, and a maximum of three wings, each of 46m maximum length, 67cm maximum drop and meshes of no more than 32mm. Currently, each licence holder may use up to 50 fyke nets and nets must be cleared at least once every 48 hours.
A fyke net must not occupy more than half of the width of a watercourse and may not be within 5m of another net. Some licence holders are permitted to use oversize fyke nets specifically for targeting migrating sea run eels.