Philippines to develop eel sector, exports

eel-philippinesThe Philippines Department of Agriculture (DA) is set to work with local eel growers to develop its export market

DA secretary Proceso Alcala recently met with domestic players to discuss initial plans on how to further develop the glass eel industry in the country amidst the dwindling supply of Anguilla japonica, the preferred eel variety in Japan and South Korea.

Apolinario Yambot, dean of the Central Luzon State University-College of Fisheries, said that Japan and South Korea were counting on tropical eel as substitute for the japonica species.

According to country’s eel growers, the Philippines could grow glass eels year round, unlike in temperate countries. They, however, said that glass eels cannot be exported to Japan and South Korea because they require large volumes for eel imports.

Currently, China provides the biggest export volumes for glass eel and Indonesia is also a big competitor.

Fisheries and Bureau of Fisheries & Aquatic Resources (BFAR) national director Asis Perez said, “We have conducted forums and congresses per commodity, for example on tuna, shrimp and milkfish (bangus), so we can do a similar activity for eel to set the direction of the industry.”

Alcala stressed that further research and development programmes were needed, and a roadmap for the eel industry in the country should be developed.

“It is good that scientific studies were already conducted but we have to look also on the policy and business side. We need to have a comprehensive study on the industry,” he added.

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