By Development Communication Section / B Acosta
Eel is an important and expensive food fish in Japan and its culture has been introduced in Cambodia, Thailand and Brazil. According to FAO, the aquaculture production in 2012 of top species like the Japanese eel (Anguilla japonica) and European eel (A. anguilla) amounted to US$ 1.3 billion (240,000 tons) and 60 million (5,000 tons), respectively.
SEAFDEC’s eel program was first discussed at the 2013 SEAFDEC Program Committee meeting in Malaysia and lately, at the “First regional technical meeting on information gathering of eel resources and aquaculture production in Southeast Asia” held 27 February in Bangkok. As a result, a project on “Conservation, management and sustainable utilization of eel resources in the Southeast Asian region” will be implemented by SEAFDEC Departments once approved by the SEAFDEC Council. The components of the new program are:
(1) compilation of basic information on eel species in Southeast Asia by IFRDMD (Inland Fisheries Research Development and Management) and MFRDMD (Marine Fishery Resources Development and Management Department); beginning 2014
(2) research on eel biology by MFRDMD, IFRDMD and TD (Training Department) focusing on A. bicolor; beginning 2015
(3) development of eel fishery management measures; a workshop is slated in 2015 to be spearheaded by the SEAFDEC Secretariat
(4) promotion of sustainable aquaculture of eels by AQD (Aquaculture Department) beginning 2016.