By Development Communication Section
BANGKOK, Thailand – Aiming to improve the quality of eels produced in Southeast Asia, experts from the Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries gathered to discuss the results of baseline surveys and experiments during a technical workshop last 7 to 8 June 2018.
The demand for anguillid eels in Asia and other countries around the world is increasing but the data and information that are crucial in the protection and production of the species are still very limited.
To discuss challenges on eel farming and report on the findings of eel studies, the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center / Aquaculture Department (SEAFDEC/AQD) took part in the “International Technical Workshop on Tropical Anguillid Eels in Southeast Asia.”
Dr. Maria Lourdes Aralar, scientist of SEAFDEC/AQD, conducted a survey among eight anguillid farms in the Philippines. Survival rate during transport was the main aspect surveyed since majority of the farms produced eels for export. It was found that fungal infection and gas bubble disease are the main causes of mortality during the transport of eels. To improve survival, SEAFDEC/AQD conducted studies on their optimum stocking density and nutrition.
Feeding trials, identification of potential diseases and formulation of health management protocols will continue to be done by SEAFDEC/AQD to refine the nursery rearing capability of local farms.
To improve the identification of eel species, SEAFDEC/AQD scientist Dr. Maria Rowena Eguia presented several morphological characteristics that could be used to differentiate eel species. These include fin length, presence and patterns of pigmentation, and proportion of anal-dorsal length. Dr. Eguia mentioned that the use of molecular markers can further confirm the results of physical identification.
Topics on international trade, capture fishing, and the management scheme of eels were also discussed by delegates from participating countries. The workshop is part of SEAFDEC’s program entitled “Enhancing Sustainable Utilization and Management Schedule of Tropical Anguillid Eel Resources in Southeast Asia,” which is funded by the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund.