The plan, which will come into force in November, is designed to enhance resource management.
Under the licensing system, eel farming will require permission from the minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, reports TheJapanNews.
Japan will launch the new system after revising ordinances to enforce a law on freshwater fisheries promotion as early as June.
Eel farmers have already been required to notify the minister of their business since November last year. A total of 515 eel farmers have registered across the country.
Following the shift to the licensing system, penalties will be strengthened. New entry to the sector will be difficult without the departure of an existing farmer.
In September last year, Japan agreed with China, Taiwan and South Korea to curb farmers’ procurement of young eels for aquaculture. For the current fishing year ending in October this year, Japan limits the procurement of young eels to 21.6 tons, down 20 per cent from the previous year.
The Fisheries Agency will continue promoting resource management measures, both internationally and domestically, said Shigeto Hase, director-general of the agency’s Resources Enhancement Promotion Department.