Japanese eels cultivated from eggs served at tasting event

Japan's fisheries agency has offered a rare opportunity to taste Japanese eels fully cultivated from eggs.

The Japanese eel is designated as endangered species as its population has declined sharply. The protection of resources has become an issue.

In an effort to preserve the stock of eels, a research institute of the Japanese government successfully achieved full-cycle eel farming 14 years ago for the first time in the world.

Researchers at the institute artificially incubated eggs and cultivated young eels to maturity. They used eggs from those farmed eels to achieve full-cycle cultivation.

On Thursday, a water tank containing glass eels cultivated with the new method was put on display as the researchers reported the results of their recent studies.

Both eels raised from glass eels in the wild and those fully cultivated from eggs were glaze-grilled and served to participants in the tasting session, including Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Sakamoto Tetsushi.

Sakamoto said the fully-cultivated eel is tender and delicious, and tastes exactly like the eel raised from wild glass eels. He said that as eel is usually expensive, he hopes it will become more affordable to eat.

The fisheries agency says the main obstacle is higher production cost as it costs more than 1,800 yen, or 11 dollars, to produce glass eels from eggs. That's about more than three times higher than the price of glass eels captured in the wild.

Researchers are working on how to reduce the cost and farm fish that are more affordable to consumers.