The total world output of eels has been around 230,000 tons (p.a.note added by BLO) in the past few years, of which 70% is from mainland China. The main aquaculture production areas for eels are Guangdong, Fujian, Jiangsu and Zhejiang. More recently, Jiangxi and Guizhou have begun to be engaged in this industry. There are 120,000 employees engaged in eel aquaculture. In 2001, the total eel culture area was more than 10,000 hectares with production of 160,000 tons. Export volume was 79,700 tons with a value of US$647 million.
The major consuming countries for eel are Japan, Korea, Hongkong, Macau, South East Asia, EU, USA and Canada, and the major eels products are roast eels, fresh eels and frozen eels, of which roast eels account for 98%.
Japan is the biggest consuming country in the world, with annual consumption of 130,000-140,000 tons and imports of 110,000-120,000 tons of which 100,000 tons is from China.
Korea's annual fresh eels consumption is 10,000-13,000 tons, mainly from mainland China and Taiwan.
The annual consumption of roast eels in Hongkong, Macau and South East Asia is 1000 tons, fresh eels 3000 tons.
In Europe the annual consumption is 20,000 tons, while the volume of roast eels in U.S.A and Canada is 2,000-4,000 tons.
At present, Japanese market is nearly saturated, but potential remains in other markets such as Korea, Europe, etc.
China's advantages in the culture of eels include:
1. rich resources: China has more suitable water surface than Japan and Taiwan;
2. low costs: The average cost of eels in China is 30-35 yuan/kg, while in Taiwan it is 35-47 yuan/kg, and Japan 70 yuan/kg;
3. high industrialization level. Annual output is 200,000 tons, 400,000 feed and 100,000 roast eels processing capability;
4. high market share. China's market share is 80% in the world market and 85% in Japanese market.
BLO copied 20051126 from: Development Plan for Aquaculture Market Study - China August 2003 prepared by Canadian Embassy in Beijing - (1975:) Robberecht Eel USA to Holland - stories