Researchers locate birthplace of eels


Japanese researchers said Thursday they have located an area where “ma-anago” (real Japanese conger) lay their eggs, retrieving young fish 380 km south of Okinotorishima Island in the Pacific Ocean.

The egg-laying site should be along a ridge at the bottom of the ocean about 100 km south of where the fish were found, based on the direction of the currents, according to the joint team of researchers from the Fisheries Research Agency in Yokohama, the University of Tokyo and Kyushu University.

The research team estimated the 5.8-mm fish are just 3 to 4 days old, based on an examination of their teeth and jaws.

A popular delicacy in Japan for centuries, the birthplace of the fish had remained a mystery until now.

The researchers said the findings will be helpful in the control of valuable marine resource. Ma-anago catches off the coast of Japan decreased by half in the 14 years since 1995.

False labeling crackdown

The farm ministry plans to launch a nationwide crackdown on false labeling of eel and other food products by using cutting-edge technology to analyze the elemental composition of tested products, ministry officials said.

Up to the present, most criminal cases involving false labeling of eel and other food products have come to light based on tips from insiders.