© 2020 Wiley-VCH GmbHThirteen river basins draining into the Marmara, Aegean and Mediterranean Seas were selected for evaluation of European eel (Anguilla Anguilla L., 1758) catch in Turkey. These basins were grouped into three so-called “eel monitoring area” (EMA). The official province-based annual landing data between 1996 and 2018 were assessed for each of the monitoring areas. Statistically significant decreases over the years were observed in the landing data in all of the monitoring areas. The adequate protection of the European eel standing stocks, particularly in some critical eel habitats such as Köyceğiz lagoon showed over time a small decrease in eel catches in EMA-2. However, a substantial decrease was detected in the province of Adana, which includes the Seyhan and Ceyhan basins, and these are located in the EMA-3. The catch data mainly based on the commercial fisheries and the restriction on export seems to be the main reason for the decline in catches in the three EMAs. Thus the suggested monitoring areas (EMAs) are needed to structure research programmes on basic knowledge on escapement ratio of migrating silver eels, arrival and upstream migration of glass eels in the rivers of each of the EMAs in order to build area specific management strategies. These monitoring areas may provide practical units that management can use in future fisheries regulations.