80% of young eels farmed in Japan may have been smuggled from Taiwan
Kyodo -- Mar 26
About 80 percent of young eels put into aquaculture pools in Japan in December and January may have been smuggled from Taiwan via Hong Kong, according to trade data and sources close to the matter.

Japan imported some 6 tons of juvenile eels from Hong Kong in those two months, according to government data, but Hong Kong does not engage in eel fishing, raising suspicions about their origin. Industry observers say most of them could have been illegally brought from Taiwan, which bans exports of the snake-like fish.

The eels start their spawning migration in the waters of East Asia and are designated as a species at risk of extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to deteriorating habitat conditions and overfishing.

Eels are consumed as a prized summer delicacy in Japan, but its imports of young eels may spark international criticism at a meeting of parties to the Washington Convention in Sri Lanka, which will open in late May.

The members of the international pact, officially called the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, are expected to discuss enhancing transparency in eel transactions.

According to the Finance Ministry's trade statistics, Japan imported about 1.6 tons of young eels in December and about 4.4 tons in January from Hong Kong. Meanwhile, none were shipped from mainland China and Taiwan, although they catch the fish.

News source: Kyodo
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