The wild weather off the coast of southern Victoria 10 days ago helped scientists from DELWP's Arthur Rylah Institute tag Short-Finned Eel populations for a new project.

The ocean swells helped the adult migratory eels (known as silver eels) - congregating in the lower river reaches - cross a sand bar and move out to the ocean, which in turn allowed scientists to attach 'pop-up' satellite tags onto 16 of these large eels in the Fitzroy and Hopkins rivers.

The tags are innovative technology, which allows monitoring of the eel's long-distance journey when the tags release and float to the ocean surface, after which they transmit data to orbiting satellites potentially providing new insights into the eels' life cycle.

Over the next six-to-eight months, the tags will record important environmental data such as temperature, depth and light from which the location of the eel can be estimated.

Eels have an amazing lifecycle, travelling thousands of kilometres as both adults and larvae.

Scientists believe adults spawn somewhere in the Coral Sea, and their eggs, and larvae, drift with oceanic currents down the east coast of Australia for several years. They grow into glass eels and then elvers, which move into freshwater rivers to become adults which live for 20 plus years before returning to the Coral Sea for their one-in-a-lifetime spawning event.  The actual location for this spawning is unknown.

The project was a collaboration between DELWP ARI, Gunditjmara Traditional Owners and a world eel expert Professor Kim Aarestrup from Denmark, supported by the Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority. The Victorian Fisheries Authority, and local commercial fishers also provided support last week.

Read more about this project here on the ARI website.