Illustration of Eel

Eel

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Seafood Variety

Harvest Method

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Variety

American eel (Freshwater eel, unagi)

Anguilla rostrata

Method

Farmed

Pond

Location

South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, China

Overall Rating

0.7 - 1.3 / 10

Summary

Aquaculture currently supplies more than 95% of the eels available on the market. In 2010, over 270,000 mt of farmed eel were produced in China, Japan, Taiwan, and Korea. Only 4% of global eel production originates from other countries.

The European eel is listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List and was listed in Appendix II of CITES in 2007. The Japanese eel is listed as endangered by the IUCN, endangered by the Japanese Environment Ministry, and of critical concern by the East Asia Resource Consortium. The American eel is threatened under Canada’s COSEWIC and is under review for inclusion on the US’s Endangered Species Act.

Data availability on eel production in Asia is poor. Little is known regarding species of eels being farmed, production volumes, and trade routes. All four countries lack monitoring and enforcement of their management regimes.

A moderate amount of wild fish in the form of feed is needed for eel aquaculture. Of concern is the reliance on wild broodstock for the aquaculture operations. This puts stress on wild populations to supply the farming operation. Frequent outbreaks of disease and pathogens occur on the farms, causing mortalities. This could affect wild species due to the open nature of the farms.

The use of banned chemical substances in China and Taiwan is a serious concern. Significant amounts of chemicals are also used in Japan and South Korea. The ponds are stocked at high densities which promotes the high incidence of disease in the ponds. Large volumes of pond water are frequently discharged to the environment. The water exchange increases the chance of escape of non-native eel species.

Learn more about harvest methods

Variety

Japanese eel (Freshwater eel, unagi)

Anguilla japonica

Method

Farmed

Pond

Location

South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, China

Overall Rating

0.7 - 1.3 / 10

Summary

Aquaculture currently supplies more than 95% of the eels available on the market. In 2010, over 270,000 mt of farmed eel were produced in China, Japan, Taiwan, and Korea. Only 4% of global eel production originates from other countries.

The European eel is listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List and was listed in Appendix II of CITES in 2007. The Japanese eel is listed as endangered by the IUCN, endangered by the Japanese Environment Ministry, and of critical concern by the East Asia Resource Consortium. The American eel is threatened under Canada’s COSEWIC and is under review for inclusion on the US’s Endangered Species Act.

Data availability on eel production in Asia is poor. Little is known regarding species of eels being farmed, production volumes, and trade routes. All four countries lack monitoring and enforcement of their management regimes.

A moderate amount of wild fish in the form of feed is needed for eel aquaculture. Of concern is the reliance on wild broodstock for the aquaculture operations. This puts stress on wild populations to supply the farming operation. Frequent outbreaks of disease and pathogens occur on the farms, causing mortalities. This could affect wild species due to the open nature of the farms.

The use of banned chemical substances in China and Taiwan is a serious concern. Significant amounts of chemicals are also used in Japan and South Korea. The ponds are stocked at high densities which promotes the high incidence of disease in the ponds. Large volumes of pond water are frequently discharged to the environment. The water exchange increases the chance of escape of non-native eel species.

Learn more about harvest methods

Variety

European eel (Freshwater eel, unagi)

Anguilla anguilla

Method

Farmed

Pond

Location

South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, China

Overall Rating

0.7 - 1.3 / 10

Summary

Aquaculture currently supplies more than 95% of the eels available on the market. In 2010, over 270,000 mt of farmed eel were produced in China, Japan, Taiwan, and Korea. Only 4% of global eel production originates from other countries.

The European eel is listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List and was listed in Appendix II of CITES in 2007. The Japanese eel is listed as endangered by the IUCN, endangered by the Japanese Environment Ministry, and of critical concern by the East Asia Resource Consortium. The American eel is threatened under Canada’s COSEWIC and is under review for inclusion on the US’s Endangered Species Act.

Data availability on eel production in Asia is poor. Little is known regarding species of eels being farmed, production volumes, and trade routes. All four countries lack monitoring and enforcement of their management regimes.

A moderate amount of wild fish in the form of feed is needed for eel aquaculture. Of concern is the reliance on wild broodstock for the aquaculture operations. This puts stress on wild populations to supply the farming operation. Frequent outbreaks of disease and pathogens occur on the farms, causing mortalities. This could affect wild species due to the open nature of the farms.

The use of banned chemical substances in China and Taiwan is a serious concern. Significant amounts of chemicals are also used in Japan and South Korea. The ponds are stocked at high densities which promotes the high incidence of disease in the ponds. Large volumes of pond water are frequently discharged to the environment. The water exchange increases the chance of escape of non-native eel species.

Learn more about harvest methods