Mysterious spawning site of eels located
TOKYO —Japanese researchers have partly resolved the longtime mystery of the spawning site of Japanese eels by pinpointing a location in the Pacific Ocean west of the Mariana Islands, according to an article published in the British science journal Nature on Thursday.
The discovery of tiny transparent larvae from the Japanese eel in the Philippine Sea indicates that the eels migrate thousands of kilometers out into the ocean to spawn, before returning to the coasts of East Asia, according to a research team led by Katsumi Tsukamoto, a professor at the University of Tokyo’s Ocean Research Institute.
Oh no! Japanese baby eels—aka “elvers”—are aliens!
Please don’t tell the Japanese immigration bureaus.
Actually, the boned and grilled eels are a favorite part of the Japanese diet. But high cost of Japanese eel and its scarcity have created the ecological nightmare of “jetset eels.” Japanese eel in serious decline so they spend zillions of yen to fly live young eels (elvers) from China and Europe to stock their eel ponds, despite a wildly high mortality rate. Only about 30 percent of the eels survive to make it to the market. Thus eels eaten in Japan can be caught in North Carolina or Holland raised in China, then shipped Japan —earning a hell of a lot of frequent-flier miles.