Eel, Conger

Conger conger

Method of production — Caught at sea
Capture method — All applicable methods
Capture area — North East Atlantic (FAO 27)
Stock area — All Areas
Stock detail
Picture of Eel, Conger

Sustainability rating five info

Sustainability overview

Conger eels have very low resilience to fishing and spawn only once, after which they die - thus predominantly any captured eel will be a juvenile and not have had a chance to spawn. Avoid eating.


Distributed from north-west Africa to the British Isles, mid-Norway and Iceland; also in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. In Britain conger eel is found predominantly on the south and western coasts of England, Wales and Scotland and all around the Irish coast. Depth 0-500m. It is a powerful fish with an elongated snake-like body which is smooth and scaleless. It has an extended fin running 3/4 of its length. They are usually grey-blue or grey-black in colour with a white or pale golden coloured belly. They can reach a length of up to 3m and 110kg weight, although females are lighter and smaller at 1m maximum. They are sexually mature at 5-15 years and die after spawning, due to irreversible and fatal changes to their body during the reproductive process. The only well known conger eel spawning site is located in the Mediterranean, near the Island of Sardinia. It is thought that it may also spawn in the eastern North Atlantic, around the Azores. Sexual maturity occurs during its migration towards the deep-sea spawning areas.

Stock information

Stock Area

All Areas

Stock information

European conger eel (Conger conger) is a common and widely distributed fish in the NE Atlantic and Mediterranean. Although there is increasing evidence that stocks are in decline, there is little published material on the population structure or management of the species. Naturally spawning individuals have not been observed and reports of the occurence of maturing specimens are scarce. Inshore fisheries primarily target juveniles.


There are no specific management or conservation measures in place for this species. Although not targeted it is commercially fished and is often caught by methods associated with relatively high levels of discards, bycatch and damage to the benthic environment. Because they are caught in a mixed fishery, the only appropriate management is through closed areas or effort reduction.

Capture Information

The European conger eel (Conger conger L.) is an important commercial and recreational fishing species of the NE Atlantic and Mediterranean. It is caught mainly as bycatch in bottom trawl and demersal long line fisheries targeting groundfish and deep water species and is also caught by rod and line.


Based on method of production, fish type, and consumer rating: only fish rated 2 and below are included as an alternative in the list below. Click on a name to show the sustainable options available.

Basa, Tra, Catfish or Vietnamese River Cobbler
Bass, seabass (Farmed)
Bream, Gilthead (Farmed)
Cod, Atlantic Cod
Coley, Saithe
Hake, Cape
Hake, European
Monkfish, Anglerfish
Pollock, Alaska, Walleye
Sturgeon (Farmed)

References; Correia AT ae al. Fisheries Research 108 (2011):88-94;