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Pacific shortfin eel

  • image of shortfinned eel-Fish identification
    Southern shortfin eel
Scientific name

Anguilla obscura

Frequent misidentifications

Other eel species


Snake-like body with a small head, jaws reaching well past the eye. Body colouration; uniform silver or yellowish to dark brown, becoming paler.


Northeastern Australian coastal drainages, from Cape york to Mackay. Prefer coastal lagoons and the lower reaches of rivers.


Commonly caught at 60 cm maximum size 110cm

Size and possession limits
  • minimum size - 30 cm
  • combined possession limit - 10 all eel species


  • Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, 1997, Fish Guide. Saltwater, Freshwater and Noxious Species. The Great Outdoors Publications, Brisbane
  • FishBase - A global information system on fishes
  • Fisheries Act 1994 and Fisheries Regulation 2008
  • Grant, EM, 1997, Grant's Guide To Fishes. EM Grant Pty Limited, Brisbane
  • Merrick, JR and Schmida GE, 1984. Australian Freshwater Fishes: Biology and Management. Griffin Press Limited, South Australia
  • Allen, G.R., Midgley, S.H., and Allen, M. Freshwater fishes of Australia. CSIRO Publishing, Victoria.
  • Schmida, G. Freshwater Fishes. Steve Parish Publishing Pty Ltd., Queensland.

Further information

Last updated 28 January 2016