2018 Volume 68 Issue 1 Pages 43-57
The catch of the Japanese eel, Anguilla japonica, has decreased since the 1970s and this species is currently listed as endangered in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. This article reviews current activities for the conservation and sustainable harvest of the Japanese eel in Japan and discusses the challenges that need to be overcome. The public and private sectors have been conducting stocking, research, and habitat restoration activities and making donations for the purpose of species conservation. However, only one academic paper has assessed its population dynamics and a web search revealed only a few activities aimed at restoring the Japanese eel habitat. Because the available data on its population dynamics are so limited, stock management procedures should be selected carefully. In addition to fisheries management, the rivers and lakes where the Japanese eel spends its growth phase should be restored. Because of its high trophic level and broad habitat range, the Japanese eel can be a flagship species for aquatic ecosystems.