By Richard Schweid
While pulled from the dust of creeks, ponds, rivers, or the ocean, the eel, with its slick, snake-like physique, emerges as an exceptionally mundane or even unappealing fish. yet don’t allow the looks idiot you—the eel has been one of many world’s favourite meals on the grounds that old Greece, and the eel’s existence cycle is likely one of the such a lot striking at the planet—during the center a long time, impoverished Londoners survived on eel and the eel later kept the Mayflower pilgrims from hunger on American seashores. In Eel, Richard Schweid chronicles the numerous features of those slippery creatures from their typical historical past to their industry worth and modern intake to their visual appeal in artwork and literature and at last to their current threatened prestige. up to now, eels have steadfastly refused to breed in captivity, it sounds as if requiring the vastness of the open ocean to effectively mature—which has imperiled the species’ long term survival. Schweid explains that freshwater eels are born in distant ocean depths and take a trip of hundreds of thousands of miles to clean water the place they spend so much in their lives prior to making a comeback trip to the sea to mate and die. Well-illustrated and containing many little-known evidence approximately this impressive fish, Eel will attract normal readers of traditional background and others wishing to find anything extra concerning the universal unagi at the sushi menu.
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Additional info for Eel (Reaktion Books - Animal)
Technically, also, it increased the difﬁculty of our investigations, since the only means whereby the larvae of the two species can be distinguished one from the other is by counting, under the microscope, the 104–120 myomeres in each individual specimen – a very lengthy and laborious business, especially on a small vessel at sea. After the cruise of the Dana, in 1920, I looked upon the matter in quite a different way. True the technical difﬁcul- 34 ties have not diminished – I have in mind the counting of myomeres in the thousands of specimens obtained on the cruise – but the comparison of the life history of the two species which our investigations have allowed us to make, is to my thinking one of the most interesting chapters in the history of the European eel .
28 The asmfc issued an ofﬁcial stock assessment in 2006 stating that Anguilla rostrata’s numbers were at or near record low levels. From 1994 to 2004 the yellow eel population in Chesapeake Bay declined by 50 per cent and in Canada’s Lake Ontario by 99 per cent. The asmfc report warned: ‘Should the decline in the yellow eel indices represent a coast- or specieswide phenomenon, then there is a real risk that spawning stock biomass has also declined. ’29 The same warning was issued in Europe, where the Joint European Inland Fisheries Advisory Commission reported their 54 conclusions, including indications that glass eel recruitment was down by as much as 99 per cent, to 1 per cent of what it had been twenty years before: The Working Group, after reviewing the available information on the status of the stock and ﬁsheries of the European eel, supported the view that the population as a whole has declined in most of the distribution area, that the stock is outside its safe biological limits and that current ﬁsheries are not sustainable.
More than 90 per cent of the eel eaten each year in Japan is prepared as kabayaki. The Japanese demand is too large to be met by the native Anguilla japonica eels entering fresh water from the Paciﬁc Ocean, and over the past couple of decades, in years when the glass eel catch in the Paciﬁc has been low, Chinese and Japanese businessmen have bought glass eels in both Europe and the usa. While the Japanese hold that the European and American eels have less ﬂavour than their native species, they will eat them rather than not eat eel at all.
Eel (Reaktion Books - Animal) by Richard Schweid