Tracking eel migration using satellites

Scientists believe adult eels can travel as far as the Coral Sea.

THE past two weeks have been very busy for scientists from the Arthur Rylah Institute, in Victoria, who made the most of a huge ocean swell down the coast and went on the hunt for short-finned eels to investigate their migratory routes.

The incredible weather conditions briefly opened the Hopkins River mouth to the sea. This helped the adult migratory eels, which were congregating in the lower river reaches, cross a sand bar and move out to the ocean.

Eels have an amazing lifecycle, travelling thousands of kilometres as both adults and larvae. Scientists believe adult eels can travel as far as the Coral Sea. To investigate this long distance journey, they have placed ‘pop-up’ satellite tags onto 16 large eels in the Fitzroy and Hopkins rivers. This innovative technology allows monitoring of the eel’s movements when the tags release and float to the ocean surface, after which they transmit data to orbiting satellites. Over the next 6-8 months, the tags will record important environmental data such as temperature, depth and light from which the location of the eel can be estimated.

To find out more about this amazing project and awe-inspiring animal migration, click HERE


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