WASHINGTON – The U.S. government is considering restricting trade of American eel and other eel species by listing them as endangered under an international treaty, a move that could cause eel prices in Japan to rise.
At the request of conservation groups, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is assessing whether American eel and all other eels should be included in the Appendix II to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, according to the April 11 federal register.
International trade of the species listed in the category may be authorized by the granting of an export permit. Since the planned restriction includes other breeds, Japanese eel may also be subject to restrictions.
The population of American eel has been feared to be declining since the 1970s.
The move comes at a time when exports of American eel to Japan are growing via farms in China and South Korea.
According to sources close to Japan-U.S. relations, exports of American eel to Japan jumped after European eel was placed under the Appendix II protection in 2007.