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Forum on PH as potential global eel player at the 2019 NSTW    

By Geraldine Bulaon-Ducusin, DOST-STII

Aspiring aquapreneurs may want to consider venturing in eel production. Eel, or igat (in Tagalog) and kasili (in Cebuano), along with black tiger shrimp, prawns, crabs, tuna, abalone, lobster, octopus, cuttlefish, milkfish, seaweeds, groupers, squids and hair tail, are identified as products with export potential.

In the latest project of the Cagayan State University (CSU)-Aparri, the market opportunities, farming practices, conservation and management, species identification, even the global production and aquaculture potential of eels was extensively studied.

Report says that Japan produces only about 30,000 tonnes of eel per year, but the Japanese consume more than 110,000 tonnes. And the dwindling supply of Japanese eel is causing its retail price to shoot up.

Among the global producers of eel from 2004 to 2010 are UK, USA, Canada, Philippines, Spain, Taiwan, China, France, and Japan. But more countries joined eel production in 2011 to 2013: Indonesia, Thailand, Greece, Morocco, Malaysia, Madagascar, and Vietnam.

The Philippines increased its production from 4 percent to 29 percent. Data on the eel farm ownerships showed that 40 percent of eel farms in the Philippines were owned by Filipinos, while the other 60 percent were co-owned by foreigners like Japanese, Taiwanese, and Koreans.

There are many aquaculture areas in the country which are sources of eel, such as Gonzaga, Cagayan. Recently, a new eel species, Anguilla luzonensis, was found in the Pinacanauan River, in Cagayan northern Luzon.

Said CSU-Aparri study is funded by the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD).

More about the eel, especially on eel farming practices and market opportunities, will be discussed at the Forum on The Eel Fishery Tributaries along Lagonoy Gulf: Implications to Management and Conservation on July 19, 2019, 10:00 am at Function Room 3, World Trade Center. The forum is a part of the National Science and Technology Week celebration which runs July 17-21 at the World Trade Center. The NSTW exhibits and some of the fora are open to the public. Admission is free.