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Eel breeders want probe of substandard eels

TAIPEI - Eel breeders in the southern county of Chiayi have urged the Fisheries Agency to probe their claims that eels recently found to contain residue of a banned antibiotic might have been smuggled from overseas.

Earlier, the agency under the Council of Agriculture (COA) released laboratory test results showing that eels from seven aquaculture farms around the island contained residue of the banned bactericidal antibiotic enrofloxacin.

It had been reported that the seven eel farms included four located in Yunlin County, two in Kaohsiung County and one in Chiayi County. This triggered strong protests from Chiayi eel breeders.

Tang Ching-chung, chairman of the Chiayi County eel and shrimp aquaculture farmers' association, claimed that none of the breeders would want to risk their lucrative business of exporting eels to Japan by using banned drugs.

All their members know that both Taiwan and Japan have very strict safety checks on living fish cargoes, Tang said, noting that all eel shipments must bear quality certificates issued by the Bureau of Standards, Metrology and Inspection when they go on sale.

Japan is Taiwan's largest eel market, buying more than 70 percent of Taiwan-bred eels.

Tang also said eel breeders have complained that the COA test results, which they questioned with regard to the source of the samples used, have resulted in a fall of eel prices.

Source: The China Post

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