Some kinds of eels are at risk (and even farmed ones of them are wild-caught)
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Eel meat is getting progressively more popular in the USA. So, I thought I'd let you all know something.
Freshwater eels, must lay their eggs in the ocean, in the wild (and they must also hatch and develop there). Even farmed eels come from young, wild-caught eels. They do not breed these eels in farms in captivity.
Eels are getting scarce. So, even if you're eating farmed eels, there's a strong possibility that you're contributing to their decline (currently).
The best way to eat eel sustainably seems to be to buy from farms that release 60+% of their eels back into the wild.
Migration barriers (from at least hydroelectric power) seem to be a huge aspect of their decline, however.
Re: Some kinds of eels are at risk (and even farmed ones of them are wild-caught)
This post was updated on .
The good news is that eels live an extremely long time, and they can lay a lot of eggs. So, in theory, you could stock some enclosed waters with eels, let them live there for who knows how long, and set them free to breed after eels are said to have become extinct (if they would be capable of breeding then, anyhow). So, if eels went extinct (to the knowledge of the world), and their culinary uses entirely vanished (with people getting out of the habit of knowing what to do with them), then when reintroduced, maybe they would repopulate quickly. However, that would be a risky thing to rely on, and I'm not encouraging relying on that. I think making the migration barriers fish-friendly is the first step.
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A good alternative as a food fish might be Asian swamp eels, which are invasive in some areas (such as the Florida Everglades). They can breed in fresh water (without migrating to the ocean). They don't appear to be at risk of extinction. They can be raised in rice fields with the rice. I believe they can eat food given to them besides meat (although they do eat meat). They are a Chinese delicacy. I'm not sure what they taste like compared to other eels (not that I've tasted any eels).
One issue with Asian swamp eels, though, is that they can kind of move on land and find new places to live. So, it's possible that farmed ones may escape and become invasive, if people aren't very careful. They can change sex when there's a need (probably more than once). They can breathe a certain amount of air. They can eat a lot, but they can survive on little food, too. They are said to be able to survive cold weather. They're freshwater fish, but they can go into brackish water. Fish poisons don't work on them. They can make burrows (which can kind of drain ponds somewhat). I believe I read somewhere that they can live in mud. Their predators are few. They sound pretty much like the ultimate fish. Now, if only they were electric and could survive entirely on land (and in the ocean)!