Japan, China, Taiwan team up to preserve eel stocks

The Fisheries Agency and its counterparts in China and Taiwan have agreed to work together to prevent the overfishing of Japanese eel.

The three authorities decided to take joint countermeasures to protect Nihon unagi, or Japanese eel, for their mutual benefit. Japan, which is a major eel consumer, imports 60 per cent of its supply of the fish from China and Taiwan.

As eel catches have been dwindling, they decided to work together to secure a stable supply in the future.

According to a plan agreed upon by executives of the three fishing authorities in December, they will share by May precise data on fishery yields, the amount of farmed eel produced and trade volumes.

The agencies also plan to build a "traceability system" in about two years to track global eel distribution routes in an effort to analyse the overfishing situation.

The United States had considered submitting a proposal for an international trade regulation on eel catches at a conference on the Washington Convention, also known as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), this March. Though it eventually decided against the proposal, calls for stricter regulation may start to be heard across the world if poor eel catches continue.

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