Reporting for TheFishSite, Bonnie Waycott spoke to the lead developer, Associate Professor Masahiko Ariji who explained how eel is very popular, but that its listing on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources red list of endangered species is a huge problem.
"It's undoubtedly a huge problem," said Ariji. "Many eel farmers told me that their businesses were affected, and asked if there was a way to cultivate a new species that could prove just as popular as eel."
Through exploring various feed combinations with an eel farming company in Kagoshima Prefecture, the researchers were able to remove the strong distinctive catfish smell and create a catfish that has the same taste and texture as eel.
In market news, TheFishSite.com parent company Benchmark Holdings has announced that it is to acquire INVE aquaculture, a leading specialist manufacturer of primary stage technically advanced nutrition and health products for aquaculture, for £227 million.
The acquisition will create a global leader in the aquaculture technology market, with the enlarged group serving customers in more than 70 countries across six continents.
Philippe Léger, Chief Executive Officer of INVE, commented: "Stimulating healthy growth and performance in aquaculture has always been INVE Aquaculture’s main driver. Becoming part of the Benchmark group will definitely reinforce this. This new milestone on our growth path unlocks INVE’s inherent potential to serve our customers globally with the industry’s most comprehensive portfolios of specialised aquaculture products."
In other news, a new report from the European Market Observatory for Fisheries and Aquaculture Products (EUMOFA) has revealed that in 2015 seafood consumption in the EU dropped but spending on seafood increased, indicating a rise in price of seafood products.