China will stop exporting the internationally protected European eel to Japan by the end of next January, industry sources said Monday.
The Chinese government’s office for wildlife protection has notified Japanese industry officials that the stock for re-exported, French-origin eels protected by an international treaty will run out by early next year, the sources said.
China imported European eel fry from France before the European Union banned exports of the species in 2010. China has been exporting the adult fish raised from the fry mainly to Japan for human consumption.
CITES, or the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, imposes guidelines and regulations on international trading of endangered species.
According to Japanese trade data, Japan imported 55,799 kg of adult European eel from China in the first five months of this year, after receiving 98,849 kg in 2013 and 27,380 kg in 2012.
International environmental groups have repeatedly criticized Japan for the widespread sale of endangered eels for human consumption.
Japan is the world’s largest consumer of eels, which have traditionally played a significant role in Japanese dietary culture.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature, which oversees the CITES treaty, in June classified the Japanese eel as a species at risk of extinction.