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Japan Continues Dolphin Slaughter But Cuts Baby Eels A Break

<p>Wikimedia:<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_eel#mediaviewer/File:Anguilla_japonica.jpg" style="background-color: initial;">Haplochromis</a> CC BY-SA 3.0</p>

This post is part of a Dodo series focused on endangered species. Go to racingextinction.com to learn about an upcoming film on threatened animals and the United Nations event sponsored in part by The Dodo.

Japan will curb its enthusiasm for young eels over the next year, in an effort to conserve the endangered species.

In a meeting with Beijing, Seoul and Taipei on Wednesday, Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries declared it would cut back on imports of glass eels (the young fish are translucent) by 20 percent beginning in November, the South China Morning Post reports.

The number of mature Japanese eels has plummeted in half over the past 30 years, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. The fish, a delicacy in Japan, are captured as fry and raised to be eaten. Efforts to farm the fish in captivity have been met with failure, possibly born out of the eels' need for long migrations: Young eels are birthed in the ocean, and swim upriver to mountain lakes to grow before returning to the sea.

(YouTube: yumehanayuki0812)

It's welcome news for the eels, who face not only overfishing but river habitats degraded by the construction of dams. Japan's other sea-faring industries should take note.