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Japan and China eel industries huddle as prices surge

Small hauls and Chinese appetite squeeze market with summer peak approaching

Chinese eel is vital to meeting Japanese demand for the summer delicacy, but Chinese consumers' growing taste for the fish is eating into an already low supply. (Photo by Koji Uema)

TOKYO -- Eel farmers and traders from Japan and China will meet here Wednesday to discuss price and supply outlooks, as rising Chinese consumption on top of a worsening shortage threaten to drive up the cost of a popular Japanese summer treat.

About 99% of the eel consumed in Japan is farmed. Baby eels are caught off the coasts of Japan, China and Taiwan in the spring and brought to farms to grow and fatten up.

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