Researchers say that more must be learned about the biology of a number of eel species in order to counter their global decline. The cumulative impact of habitat loss, pollution, over farming, disease, and changing ocean currents/climate, are believed to disrupt the life cycle of eel species, who feed and grow in a range of salinities, but breed in the ocean. Furthermore, a lack of long-term datasets about eels could hamper conservation efforts.
To gather much needed data, a survey team led by the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) in collaboration with the Philippine Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) carried out a field survey on anguillid eel farming and industry in Tuguegarao, Northern Luzon and outskirt of Metro Manila, Philippines on 14-18 July 2017.
This survey is a part of the project on “Enhancement of Sustainability of Catadromous Eel Resources in Southeast Asia” supported by the Japanese Trust Fund with the aim of obtaining clearer understanding on the current situation of catadromous eel resources, fisheries and utilization in Southeast Asia and developing further management toward sustainable use of eel resources.
The survey team had opportunity to make a courtesy call on Dr. Milagros C. Morales, Regional Director of the BFAR Regional Office No.02 located in Cagayan Province, Tuguegarao, Northern Luzon. During the visit, brief introduction and discussion were made on the project background, objectives, final goals in order to clarify the purpose of the mission. Subsequently, the team visited a number of fishing villages located near the Cagayan River, Aparri, Cagayan Province and outskirts of Metro Manila to interview glass eel fishers, consolidators, and private eel farming companies (e.g. Alpha Aquatique Corp., Laguna, Cacayan Aqua Ventures, Victoria Laguna) to update the present situation of glass eel collections, eel nursery and businesses.
The findings and updated information on the status of anguillid eel industry obtained from this mission would serve as basis for the establishment of catadromous eel data collection system in the Philippines, while this would also provide fundamental information for planning of regular eel survey in the near future. For more information, click here.