Skip to comments.Indonesia eel hot item for smugglers (Japan)
Posted on 07/30/2013 1:24:24 AM PDT by TexGrill
PALABUHANRATU, INDONESIA Japan is steeped in century-old rituals where people traditionally eat grilled freshwater eel on doyo no ushi no hi, the day customarily dedicated to eating eel.
Eel day fell on July 22 this year, but concern over dwindling stocks in Japan is growing, with other countries in the region reporting a similar trend. Continued demand for juvenile eel has led to an increase in the smuggling of glass eel from Indonesia to Japan and China, prompting Jakarta to toughen regulations.
In Japan, eel is commonly eaten in the summer but is also the main ingredient in several year-round dishes. But making the dishes is getting more expensive, given that the annual eel catch has recently sunk to about 200 tons from around 3,000 tons in the 1960s, according to the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry.
The decline is a result of overfishing and habitat destruction, a trend the Environment Ministry has been trying to counteract. In February, it designated the fish as a species at risk of extinction on its nonbinding red list.
Japan consumes more than 70 percent of the global eel catch, with about half coming from China, South Korea and Taiwan. However, those sources have reported dwindling eel stocks as well, forcing Japan to turn to Indonesia, where freshwater eel are still abundant.
The freshwater eel is the only fish that starts its life cycle in the ocean and spends most of its adult life in fresh water, before returning to the ocean to spawn, migrating thousands of kilometers.
Indonesian eel farmers make huge profits by exporting glass eel. The high demand has also led to a profitable eel smuggling business in Indonesia.
(Excerpt) Read more at japantimes.co.jp ...
One of the few Japanese dishes I don’t eat .