Why Japanese eel can cost over $90

Following is a transcript of the video.

Narrator: This is the most expensive fish in Japan. In January 2018, a kilogram of these baby eels cost around $35,000. That’s more than bluefin tuna, and almost as much as the price of gold at the time.

But catching these eels is just the beginning. It can take a year of work until they’re large enough to be sold. So what makes these eels so popular? And why are they so expensive?

People in Japan have eaten eel for thousands of years. Restaurants like this can sell 40 to 50 tons of eel each year. Japanese eel, or Anguilla japonica, can be found across East Asia, but overfishing and changing habitats have caused a huge decline in eel populations. Since 1980, the global catch of eel has declined by more than 75%, which has had a huge effect on price.

Rui Kinoshita: What is happening these days is the difference in the price is so much each year. It can be tripled compared to last year. Next year can be a third of the year before.

Narrator: Unlike other types of fishing, the majority of eels are raised, not caught as adults. Young eels, called glass eels, are caught in the wild and raised on farms like this. No farms have been able to efficiently breed the eels in captivity. So farmers depend on the catch of young eels to make a profit.

Michio Tanaka: The amount I raise here varies each year, but roughly speaking it’s about 30 tons. About 150,000 or 160,000 eels.

Narrator: Raising this many eels requires constant attention. Michio has been working as an eel farmer for almost 40 years.

Michio Tanaka: As for farming eels, I don’t think eels are easy fish to grow. If one disease spreads or one accident happens in the pond, you can never make a profit. This can be done only through daily care.

Narrator: After the cost of the eels themselves, feeding them is the most expensive part. Two to three times a day, workers feed eels this. It’s a mixture of fish meal, wheat, soybean meal, and fish oil.

Michio Tanaka: I am trying to feed them in a way that food gets around to all 150,000 baby eels. That is a difficult task. I pay a lot of attention to those baby eels. If something happens to that one pond, everything is gone.

Narrator: After six to 12 months of work, eels are big enough to be sold. Workers unload the eels and sort them by size to determine where they’ll be sold. Experienced workers can quickly tell the difference just by feel. Some of these eels will end up at restaurants like Surugaya, which has been serving eel for over 150 years. That high demand is part of the reason young eels are so expensive. The final dish is called kabayaki. It may look simple, but preparing it takes years to master.

Rui Kinoshita: There is a saying about cooking eel. It takes three years to master the skewering. Slicing takes eight years. Grilling needs a whole life to master.

Narrator: Workers prepare eel alive to maintain freshness, but this makes handling much more difficult. Workers remove the bones and cut eels to the proper size for the skewers.

Rui Kinoshita: Finally, grilling. It takes a whole life to master. Until you die.

Narrator: Eel has to be constantly monitored while it’s cooking to achieve even grilling.

Rui Kinoshita: The best eels for us have good texture. Not too hard, not too soft.

Narrator: Chefs steam, then grill each eel three times, dipping it into sauce between each grilling.

Rui Kinoshita: Presentation and taste have to be equally good. When you open the lid, it has to look beautiful.

Narrator: Kabayaki presented in a lacquer box with rice is called unaj┼ź. It can cost up to $91 depending on the price of adult eel. If prices are too high, restaurants struggle to make a profit.

Rui Kinoshita: The amount of eel catch is a matter of life and death for eel restaurants. We all are very concerned about it. I myself am concerned too.

Narrator: In Japan, eels are eaten year-round, but consumption peaks in the summer, and it’s become a big part of some local economies. But the high demand has caused concern. In 2014, Japanese eels were classified as endangered, and because of low domestic catch, the majority of eels eaten in Japan are imported from China and Taiwan.

Kouji Yamamoto: When they can’t catch enough young eel, the price goes up. When the price is so high, what can those farmers do? Finding the right balance is currently the biggest problem.

Narrator: There have been efforts to improve the eel population, like regulating fishing, releasing adult eels back into the water, and researching how to hatch eels in farms. But the future of Japanese eels remains unclear, and the price is likely to increase with demand.

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This $329,000 silent electric boat that was inspired by electric eels just debuted in the US

Eelex 8000_12
Eelex 8000.

  • X Shore sells fully electric, silent boats.
  • The two newest models, the Eelex 8000 and the Eelord 6000 were shown in January, and the Eelex 8000 is available in the US today.
  • The more expensive boat costs over $300,000.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

X Shore’s boats don’t necessarily look like eels, but the company says they were inspired by electric South American fish. The $329,000 Eelex 8000 is available in the US beginning March 25.

X Shore started taking orders for electric boats in 2018, and now has two models for sale, the Eelex 8000 and the Eelord 6000. They’re manufactured in Sweden, but can be transported globally. The larger Eelex 6500 and Eeltrek 8000 are also in the works, though not yet for sale.

Electric boats are quieter, and create less emissions than boats powered by fossil fuels. They’re also cheaper, according to X Shore, which says the cost of refueling an electric boat can be as low as one-tenth the cost for fossil fuels. At over $300,000 for the larger boat, X Shore boats seem to be going for the luxury crowd, but they’re smaller crafts than other electric yachts on the market.

See the Eelex 8000 here.

The Eelex 8000 is the most expensive boat currently sold by X Shore, at about $329,000.

Eelex 8000_Palma_
Eelex 8000.

Deck and hull colors are customizable, with three options: moss, sandy, and coffee.

X Shore Eelex 8000 (41)
Eelex 8000.

It weighs about 5,700 pounds, with a width of 8 feet and a length of 26 feet.

Eelex 8000_6
Eelex 8000.

It fully charges in eight hours, or in only one hour on supercharging mode.

Eelex 8000_7
Eelex 8000.

Cruising speed is 24 knots, but it can reach up to 40 knots.

Eelex 8000_8
Eelex 8000.

It has a range of up to 100 nautical miles, depending on travel speed.

Eelex 8000_10
Eelex 8000.

X Shore calls its engine design a “clean and efficient powerhouse.”

Eelex 8000_11
Eelex 8000.

Along with the wheel, controls are on a 24 inch waterproof and glare-proof touch screen.

electric boat X Shore
Eelex 8000.

The boat is powered by lithium ion batteries, which power the single shaft propulsion system.

Eelex 8000_12
Eelex 8000.

Electric power is quieter than fossil fuel powered-boats, and X Shore emphasizes that its boats are silent.

Eelex 8000_4
Eelex 8000.

Quieter craft mean boaters can explore the water without as much harm to the natural environment, or scaring wildlife away.

Eelex 8000_9
Eelex 8000.

Or, as X Shore puts it, “You have become One with Nature.”

Eelex 8000_5
Eelex 8000.

Electric power also means fewer fossil fuel emissions, which can contribute to climate change.

Eelex 8000_3
Eelex 8000.

X Shore credits this care for the natural world with its Swedish heritage, “where people and the sea have lived in harmony for centuries.”

Eelex 8000_2
Eelex 8000.

The minimalist Scandinavian design was inspired by the South American Electric Eel.

Eelex 8000_1
Eelex 8000.

“We modeled our boats after the eel’s robust head and its sleek, streamlined body” X Shore said.

electric eel
Electric eel.

The eel ornament on the boat nods to that inspiration, and also acts as a handle for passengers.

electric boat X Shore
Eelex 8000.

Of course, the eel’s electric abilities also partially inspired the design.

Eelex 8000_1
Eelex 8000.

The Eelex 8000 has a sunroof and roofrack.

Eelex 8000_2
Eelex 8000.

It has two rows of seating, enough for four passengers.

Eelex 8000_4
Eelex 8000.

X Shore offers test drives for interested buyers.

Eelex 8000_details
Eelex 8000.

Read the original article on Business Insider