Eel

Eel is a popular food fish in Europe and the Far East, especially in Japan. In some countries, however, eel is not so popular because of its snakelike appearance. In spite of this, the demand for eels has increased considerably during the last two decades.

Annual world production of eels is about 200,000 t. Twenty-five percent of these are wild eels captured mainly in Europe, North America, and Oceania, whereas the remaining 75% are cultured eels.

Japan pioneered the culture of eels more than 150 years ago. Its eel culture technique is now one of the most advanced in the world. Taiwan, which adopted Japanese culture methods, follows closely. In annual eel output, Taiwan, however, surpasses Japan, making it the world's largest supplier of eels (1). Meanwhile, several countries are also developing their own eel culture industry. Fluctuating natural eel stocks and the pollution of the eel's habitat have made world eel production unstable. The culture of eels may be the best way of ensuring the adequate supply of the fish.

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