Glass eel catches see sharp fall; higher prices inevitable
Catches of <1> glass eel, or <2> juvenile Japanese eel, have been extremely low this season.
As of the end of January, the volume of glass eels put into domestic <3> aquaculture ponds was about 10 percent that of a year earlier, and the transaction price of glass eels was more than ¥3 million per kilogram, about three times last year’s average price.
The eels will be <4> shipped from next year, and a supply shortage and higher prices appear inevitable.
“We haven’t been able to catch glass eels at all this season. The situation is so serious that some people have stopped going to fishing areas,” the head of the Tenryugawa river glass eel fishing association based in Hamamatsu said with a sigh.
Hamamatsu is one of the largest eel production areas in the country.
The mouth of the Tenryugawa river is an established spot for glass eel fishing, but catches have been extremely low this season compared to the average year.
In Japan, glass eel fishing is conducted from November to spring of the following year. Most of the eel available on the <5> domestic market is <6> farmed eel.
Glass eels are farmed in aquaculture ponds and shipped to the market.
However, catches of glass eel have been extremely low across the nation this season. According to the Fisheries Agency, 1.5 tons of glass eel were put into domestic aquaculture ponds from November to the end of January, about 10 percent of the 11.3 tons a year earlier.