Tag Archives: glass eels

Inside the Multi-million-Dollar World of Eel Trafficking

The alleged kingpin of one of the biggest domestic wildlife smuggling operations ever to hit the East Coast is exactly where you’d expect to find him on a rainy evening in early May: firmly planted in a swivel chair at a big green metal desk inside his renovated Quonset hut on Foster Street, in Ellsworth, Maine. At this post Bill Sheldon waits day and night for fishermen to come and fill his bowl with writhing masses of baby eels. The 72-year-old fisherman wears glasses, a blue flannel shirt, jeans, duck boots, and a brown L.L. Bean baseball cap. His cell phone goes quack, quack, quack when it rings. The sign above his head reads, “Buying Glass Eels Here,” with the day’s market price: $1,250 per pound. (so much more about the fishery in this article than “trafficking”) click here to read the story 09:26

Is the Japanese eel industry on the slippery slope to extinction?

unagi-slider-870x489“Eel has been loved in Japan for millennia,” Murakami says. “It’s crucial that we continue this ancient Japanese food culture.” The eating of freshwater eel — or unagi — is a culinary romance that has lasted more than 5,000 years. Indeed, eel bones have been found in shell mounds dating back to the Jomon Period, which lasted from around 10,000 B.C. to 200 B.C.,, Consequently, the majority of eel that makes it onto dining tables nationwide has been imported from China and Taiwan since the 1990s. According to the 2015 fisheries ministry survey, eel imports now account for approximately 60 percent of the domestic eel supply, with a large quantity of the fish being processed into kabayaki in China and shipped to Japan in a ready-to-cook form. According to another survey released this month by the fisheries ministry, the market price of baby eel — also known as elvers or glass eels — is currently ¥1,820,000 ($17,142 usd) per kilogram. By contrast, the market price of baby eel was ¥160,000 per kilogram In 2003, less than 10 percent of the existing price. Interesting article, read the rest here 17:29

Asian demand, low supply set record price on Maine baby eels

Prices for tiny glass eels caught in river inlets along the Maine coast soared to record levels this year because a slow season resulted in reduced catch, fishermen and dealers say. The baby eels called elvers sold for $2,500 or more per pound at times this season due to low supply, fishermen and dealers say, beating the old record of $1,868.73 in 2012. This year’s average price, which the state has not yet calculated, seems sure to dwarf last year’s and possibly eclipse 2012, fishermen said. Read the rest here 12:50

Maine: Slow start to elver season means high price for baby eels

Maine’s baby eel season is off to a slow start, causing prices to balloon back to historic levels as fishermen wait for waterways to finish thawing. Elvers, also called , are sold overseas as seed stock for Asian aquaculture companies that raise them to maturity and sell them as food. Maine fishermen are by far the largest supplier of elvers in the U.S. Some end up back in America in restaurants as sushi. Read the rest here 14:50