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The catch of young eels in Japan in 2018-2019 falls to record low

Published: 26.07.2019

The domestic catch of eel fry for cultivation has decreased this season to 3.7 tons and is the lowest since 2003, the fisheries Agency of Japan, published this month.

In the period from November 2018 to may 2019 Japan imported 11.5 tonnes of juvenile eels, which is the second record figure, according to the trade statistics of the Ministry of Finance of Japan.

According to these data, all imports were effected from Hong Kong, which aroused suspicion concerning the origin of juveniles, as Hong Kong is not engaged in fishing for eel.

Industry observers and groups of environmental protection say that the majority of young eels imported by Japan from Hong Kong, could be illegally imported from Taiwan, which prohibits the export of fish.

Imports from Hong Kong accounted for 75 percent of juveniles placed in the internal water reservoirs for cultivation in this period.

The data was published, when Japan was preparing for explosive growth in the consumption on Saturday, in the middle of summer, called "Doyo no Ushi no Hi" (day of the ox).

On this day, many Japanese eat eel, usually grilled with a sweet soy sauce, to honor the age-old belief that consumption of eel helps the body to resist summer heat.

Increasing the transparency and traceability of international transactions to save the eel will be the topic of discussion at the meeting of the Washington Convention next month in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Agency stated that the catch of young eels in the period 2018-2019 was "extremely poor". It only reached 13 percent of the highest catch of 27.5 tons in the period 2005-2006.


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The domestic catch of eel fry for cultivation has decreased this season to 3.7 tons and is the lowest since 2003, the fisheries Agency of Japan, published this month.

In the period from November 2018 to may 2019 Japan imported 11.5 tonnes of juvenile eels, which is the second record figu...