International Conservation and Management of Eel Resources
Currently artificial bred eel fry is still unable to satisfy the need of the eel farming industry. The supply of eel fry to farming all derive from wild catch. Recent decline of eel resources in the East Asia region has triggered the concern of international conservation groups, and notably on 12 June 2014, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) officially placed Japanese eel (Anguilla japonica) in IUCN Red List of “endangered species”, and it is expected that in the 17th Conference of the Parties of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to be held in 2016 in South Africa, there will be proposal for listing Japanese eel in CITES Appendix II, for controlling the trade of this species. This will result disruption of export of Japanese eel, whereby jeopardizing the viability of Taiwan’s eel farming industry.
Eel farming is an export-orientated industry in Taiwan, and 80% of the eel produced has been exported, with Japan the most important market. In order to avoid listing of Japanese eel in the CITES appendix, thus impacting the eel farming industry, the Fisheries Agency has been actively promoting the conservation and management of eel resources, and participating in the work of international cooperation, while taking into account the livelihood of eel farmers as well as sustainable development of the eel farming industry.
Eel is a trans-boundary migratory fish species. Its conservation and management require the joint cooperation of all users of this species. As such, Taiwan, Japan, Mainland China, and Korea began convening “Meeting of the Informal Consultation on International Cooperation for the Conservation and Management of Japanese Eel Stock and Other Relevant Eel Species”, jointly promoting such conservation and management measures as closed season and closed areas for eel fishing, and reached a consensus in the 7th meeting held in September 2014. It was decided that the control of farmed quantity would be vested upon individual farming countries, with the target of farmed quantity in 2015 not exceeding 80% of that of 2104. The farming quantity of other eel species should not exceed the average of the preceding 3 years. In order to promote sustainable utilization of eel resources, the Alliance for Sustainable Eel Aquaculture was established to reinforce the voluntary administration of the industry.
The Fisheries Agency urges the eel farming industry to realize and understand the urgent need of international cooperation in the conservation and management of eel resources, and work with the Agency in implementing the conservation and management of eel resources, to ensure sustainable development of the eel farming industry.