The Japanese eel, a popular summertime delicacy that has become prohibitively expensive due to overfishing, has been put on the international conservation "red list" in a move that may speed up Japan’s push for industrial farming of the species. Japan’s agriculture minister Yoshimasa Hayashi urged that efforts to boost the eel population be stepped up after the International Union for Conservation of Nature designated the Japanese eel as "endangered," or facing a very high risk of extinction.


The decision by the IUCN to put the Japanese eel on its red list could lead to global restrictions. Inclusion on the list can be the basis for trade restrictions under an international treaty on trade in endangered animals and plants.


Japan consumes more than two-thirds of all eel eaten, thanks partly to a tradition of eating roasted eel as tonic for the heat during the hottest days of summer. The delicacy is as much a custom of the season as watching fireworks, listening to wind chimes and eating watermelon.


Japanese eel are usually raised to adulthood after being caught as elvers, or glass eels. Although there are limits on catching elvers and juvenile eels, demand has soared, putting heavy pressure on the species, as well as many other fish stocks and pushing prices for elvers as high as $36,000 a kilogram. In turn, prices for mature eels have soared, turning the traditional "kabayaki" roasted eel dish into a luxury rather than a common household dish.



endangered:形容詞,指動植物數量稀少瀕臨絕種的、瀕危的,或形容非常罕見的,如She claims that honest politicians are an endangered species.(她聲稱誠實的政客是瀕危物種。)

prohibitively:副詞,指費用或價格過高地,如Property in the area tends to be prohibitively expensive.(當地的房價高到讓人買不下手。)

tonic:形容詞,指滋補的、使人精神振奮的,如A weekend in the mountains was always a tonic for him.(到山裡度週末總能讓他精神一振。)



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