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Earth Science

Completely Farm-Bred Unagi, a World First 204

Posted by timothy
from the hey-hajime-at-mashiko! dept.
JoshuaInNippon writes "Japanese scientists at the National Research Institute of Aquaculture, Fisheries Research Agency have reported that they successfully completed an artificial cultivation cycle for unagi, or eel — a world first. Unagi is a traditional delicacy in Japan, and can commonly be found in baked form at sushi restaurants. The fish has long been caught either matured, or still young and then fattened on farms. Sadly, as a result, natural stocks of unagi have plummeted in recent years. However, the research news indicates a future method to completely farm breed the tasty creature in mass quantity. Good news for sushi lovers, Japanese businesses, and wild eel alike."
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Completely Farm-Bred Unagi, a World First

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  • by Scutter (18425)

    They can farm-grow total awareness now? /got nuthin'

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Ah, salmon skin roll!
    • by schon (31600) on Friday April 09, 2010 @06:53PM (#31796610)

      Shhh.. you're not supposed to make "Friends" references on /. (unless it's to say how lame the show was.) Someone might ask you to turn in your Geek card.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Scutter (18425)

        Shhh.. you're not supposed to make "Friends" references on /. (unless it's to say how lame the show was.) Someone might ask you to turn in your Geek card.

        You and I both have SlashID's in the low five digits. We can pretty much get away with anything without losing geek cred.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Blakey Rat (99501)

        What's worse? Making the Friends reference? Or being the one other guy (apparently) who recognizes that it's a Friends reference?

      • I take it then that friends don't let friends make Friends references?
  • Maybe, maybe not (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 09, 2010 @06:40PM (#31796542)

    Good news for sushi-lovers, Japanese businesses, and wild eel alike.

    In the US Pacific Northwest, it has been found that farm raising salmon significantly hurt the wild populations.
    Some of those farmed fish can escape affect the gene pool!

    • In the US Pacific Northwest, it has been found that farm raising salmon significantly hurt the wild populations.

      No, it has been found that destruction of natural habitat, dams, and overfishing significantly hurt the wild salmon populations.

      • Re:Maybe, maybe not (Score:5, Informative)

        by ushering05401 (1086795) on Friday April 09, 2010 @07:22PM (#31796816) Journal

        The AC is probably referring to the infections that the farmed salmon have transmitted to nearby wild populations. I don't know if transmission is via escape or simple proximity, but there has been some noise about the issue.

        Just like with the meat industrial complex animals, the farmed salmon require high doses of meds because of the unnatural and crowded living environment, and this has resulted in some aggressive infections for which the wild population is unprepared.

        • Re:Maybe, maybe not (Score:5, Informative)

          by NoMaster (142776) on Friday April 09, 2010 @08:59PM (#31797360) Homepage Journal

          Or the genetic impacts on wild salmon (naturally selected for overall fitness) of interbreeding with escaped farmed salmon (human selected for fast growth rates). It's actually a fairly nasty problem for wild stocks, and is being extensively [wiley.com] researched [oxfordjournals.org].

          • For whatever reason Atlantic salmon is used for farming, even when the farm is in the Pacific. There is no evidence that Atlantic and Pacific salmon species interbreed in the wild (the papers you link described lab experiments of forced interbreeding).

            However escaped Atlantic salmon and their offspring do compete for food with the native species. Also, fish farms are breeding grounds for sea lice, and they introduce antibiotics into the environment, as the GP points out.

            • by NoMaster (142776)

              The same thing [oxfordjournals.org] happens with Pacific salmon when hatchery fish are used to supplement wild populations, as has been (is still?) done in the Pacific Northwest.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Joe Snipe (224958)

          Just like with the human population, the urban dwellers require high doses of meds because of the unnatural and crowded living environment, and this has resulted in some aggressive infections [].

          TFTFY

    • by JWSmythe (446288)

      Yup, because that's the only thing we've ever bred for our own gains.

      Pretty much any domesticated or farm animal you see has been bred for centuries to give us what we have today. It's not limited to animals though. Fruits and vegetables are the same way. Farmers have always taken things with preferred traits, and disposed of the ones with unwanted traits. Something as simple as a tomato started out as a fruit the size of a berry. Now we have our nice large tomatoes that we recognize t

  • I saw a couple minutes of an episode of Dirty Jobs recently. At first I thought Mike Rowe was sifting through a table of entrails. It was actually a table full of slime and Unagi. Apparently they excrete slime.
    • by ShakaUVM (157947)

      >>Apparently they excrete slime.

      Hell, they're still slimy when you eat them. It doesn't make them any less delicious. =)

      Seriously, if you've never had an Unagi-Don, shop around at your local sushi restaurants till you get a good one. They're amazing.

      • by X0563511 (793323)

        I'll pass on that one...

      • Eel tempura is the most amazing stuff ever. If I could get that cheep, every day, I'd eat a ton of it.

        I'm hoping the landlocked midwest US saves me from that terrible fate....
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      That was probably the slime eel/hagfish episode.

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      That was slime-eel aka hagfish not Unagi.

  • right (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Friday April 09, 2010 @06:54PM (#31796622) Journal
    And what will these eel eat? Oh, that's right - fish. Which have to be caught and then fed to the eels...

    Salmon farm fishing is a disaster. Shrimp are not much better. I don't know how the tilapia production is fairing. Tilapia are not predators like salmon, so I imagine it might be better, but I have no idea.

    Answer: stop eating fish. Sorry.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by interkin3tic (1469267)

      Answer: stop eating fish. Sorry.

      Because cows and pigs are any better than farmed fish?

      If this is just another vegan scheme to convert us all, I swear I'll, uh, well, enjoy some bacon and make fun of you while doing it...? I got nothing.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by timmarhy (659436)
        I'm betting your right. vegans always ignore the fact the food chain naturally includes meat eaters, and that meat has 10x the energy of veg meaning you'd have to clear a lot more land to feed the world just on veg. they also ignore that most stock is fed on waste products making it a very efficent industry. not a single bit of an animal is wasted either.

        this is what happens when you inject a moral code into what you eat, your unable to see things clearly.

        • Re:right (Score:5, Funny)

          by apoc.famine (621563) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .enimaf.copa.> on Friday April 09, 2010 @08:54PM (#31797338) Homepage Journal

          I'm betting your right

          My right, damn straight MOTHERFUCKER. Don't you DARE FUCK WITH MY RIGHT!!!!!!


          Oh, you meant "you're right"...not possessive... Carry on....

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Except you use far more land growing the feed for the animals than growing the vegetables to replace the meat in a human diet.

          Vegetarian diet requires a lot of knowledge of nutrition to make work, but it is far more energy-efficient. Those animals don't subsist on air.

          Meat, however, tastes good.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by TheLink (130905)
            > Vegetarian diet requires a lot of knowledge of nutrition to make work, but it is far more energy-efficient. Those animals don't subsist on air.

            But not all land is good for growing plants that humans can eat and thrive on.

            > Meat, however, tastes good.

            And a diet that includes fish is scientifically proven to be good for you.

            Humans aren't that great at converting ALA to DHA. You can't easily get those healthy long chained omega acids from a vegetarian diet, without supplements.
        • by mqduck (232646)

          I'm pretty sure that your claim that vegans "ignore" those facts is based entirely on nothing, given that none of them address the core issue for vegetarians/vegans: whether it can ever moral to take a life when it's not necessary to do so.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by drsquare (530038)

          I'm betting your right. vegans always ignore the fact the food chain naturally includes meat eaters, and that meat has 10x the energy of veg meaning you'd have to clear a lot more land to feed the world just on veg.

          Actually meat requires more land. For a start, you need to grow the food to feed to the animals. They're cutting down rainforests just to meet demand for beef.

    • by IonOtter (629215)

      Tilapia are herbivorous, so you can feed them plant waste. You can almost feed them by fertilizing the water they live in, since they'll eat anything that grows in the water. They're great for controlling aquatic weeds, too. There's a reason tilapia are chosen to be raised on organic veggie farms? You can just recycle the veggie waste right into the shredder and into the tanks.

    • by Fnkmaster (89084)

      My answer is to primarily eat wild, sustainably caught fish. It's generally much healthier than farmed fish anyway, which are fed the same garbage that factory farm cattle and pigs are fed, thus removing much of the health benefits of eating fish in the first place. I don't want my beef fattened on corn, and I don't want my salmon fattened on corn either.

      Check out http://www.ecofish.com [ecofish.com] or http://www.wildplanetfoods.com/ [wildplanetfoods.com] for some examples. Also, I eat lots of sardines - small fish that have short lifespa

      • by JanneM (7445)

        "My answer is to primarily eat wild, sustainably caught fish. It's generally much healthier than farmed fish anyway, which are fed the same garbage that factory farm cattle and pigs are fed, thus removing much of the health benefits of eating fish in the first place."

        But the OP says they are fed fish, which makes them just as healthy as wild fish. Could you two decide: are they fed fish (great quality feed) or are they fed garbage (one disposal problem down)?

        Besides, it's eels we're talking about here. You

      • by NoMaster (142776)

        That's a fair enough choice from a personal perspective, but it doesn't scale well. There's endless examples of wild fish stocks crashing to dangerously low levels, and a few examples of fish populations effectively being fished to extinction, due to the activities of just a couple of countries. It's pretty obvious that you just can't support a world population of 6.5 billion+ on wild-caught fish.

        Oh, and one classic example of this is the crash of sardine fisheries in the 1960's...

    • by Ihmhi (1206036)

      Doesn't it just come down to like, the food chain?

      To save myself having to read up on this for 20 minutes...

      Red Fish are a delicacy in a certain country. Red Fish typically eat Blue Fish. Blue Fish typically eat Green Fish. Green Fish typically eat kelp.

      The solution would then be: grow kelp to feed the Green Fish. Once a population of Green Fish is going, feed Green Fish to Blue Fish. Once a population of Blue Fish is going, feed Blue Fish to Red Fish. Once Red Fish population starts growing, sell off the e

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      They can eat dogfood or any high protein diet. No need to feed them fish.

      Answer: Stop being a dummy and realize that we can do better than nature!

    • by JanneM (7445)

      The eels are already long since farmed. This simply enables eel farming without having to take juveniles from the wild.

      "Answer: stop eating fish. Sorry."

      When you've convinced people to stop eating meat as well. That is to say, never. Better to find ways of farming fish and seafood that minimizes impact. That will get us better results than pining for something that isn't going to happen.

    • Bottomfeeder (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Answer: stop eating fish. Sorry.

      Partly, but not completely. I highly recommend the book "Bottomfeeder" that covers this topic quite well:

      http://www.tarasgrescoe.com/excerpt.html

      The author recommends the following kinds if you want to eat sustainably:

      • Artic char; barramundi
      • Halibut, Pacific
      • Herring
      • Jellyfish (often used in salads and appetizers in restaurants)
      • Mackerel
      • Mullet
      • Oysters, mussels
      • Pickerel
      • Pollock (usually found in fish sticks and fast-food sandwiches)
      • Sablefish
      • Sardines
      • Squid (aka, calamari)
      • Trout
      • Whiting, blue

      There are also many ones that

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by uncqual (836337)

        • Mullet

        Should you eat the attached redneck also? Yuck.

        • by JWSmythe (446288)

          I hear they're kinda gamy. There was another story [dailymail.co.uk] where a couple Russians picked something a bit tastier. I could think of more entertaining things to do with her though. Looks like the guys involved could be tossed into a wood chipper, and no one would be upset in the least. I'd worry about staining the machine though. "Damn, he nicked the blade."

    • And what will these eel eat? Oh, that's right - fish. Which have to be caught and then fed to the eels...

      Anyone who grew up in that crazy Twentieth Century decade of the 70s is well aware that eels eat Assorted Letters of the English Alphabet. [youtube.com]

    • Re:right (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ljw1004 (764174) on Friday April 09, 2010 @10:19PM (#31797694)

      Fish farming isn't a disaster at all.

      Sure, the fish have higher levels of stress and disease. But that doesn't matter since we're going to eat them anyway and we won't catch their diseases.

      Sure, the fish live at higher densities than seen in the wild. So what? Doesn't affect their taste.

      Sure, the fish have higher levels of lice. That's a problem if they infect wild populations. So that's adequately and properly solved with a greater distance between the two.

      Sure, the fish are sometimes fed too many antibiotics. Solution? feed them less! It's just an equation between antibiotics and profitability. It'd be fine to pay a bit more in exchange for a bit less antibiotic use.

      Sure, the fish cause pollution from their feces etc. But that's no problem in places of high current.

      I love fish, and almost all the dishes I cook with them the taste difference between wild and farmed is minimal. And even though the farmed and quite as healthy for you as the wild, they're still pretty darned healthy.

  • FTA: "...a means to save the animal from overfishing and possible extinction have been found. "

    Actually, it's cheaper and better to simply stop fishing for them altogether for a few years. Just leave them alone and they'll come back reasonably quick, if you haven't, y'know, BUILT OVER their spawning beds or anything.

  • I guess there's a small lamprey of hope for this fishery.

  • by burris (122191)

    Maybe now I'll be able to get properly prepared fresh eel instead of that frozen, precooked, and precut crap that's reheated in a toaster oven and covered with sesame seeds.

  • by Shag (3737) on Friday April 09, 2010 @09:25PM (#31797466) Homepage

    Unagi is a key ingredient in Unagi Pai, which I think is the yummiest cookie made with ground-up eel bones in the whole world. :)

  • by DriedClexler (814907) on Friday April 09, 2010 @09:29PM (#31797490)

    So is *this* finally an example of something the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture is in charge of? Because I know we ruled out their authority with respect to Gundum.

  • now if they can only do the same thing for bluefin tuna, while it's still extant.

  • &#31169;&#12398;&#12507;&#12540;&#12496;&#12540;&#12463;&#12521;&#12501;&#12488;&#12399;&#12289;&#39995;&#12391;&#12356;&#12387;&#12401;&#12356;&#12391;&#12377;&#12290;

    Does slashdot not like Japanese?

    "Cat got your tongue? (something important seems to be missing from your comment ... like the body or the subject!)"
  • The problem with farmed fish is that their environment is not as varied and robust, as diverse, as the natural one they evolved to thrive in. Which is why salmon farms, for example, breed unhealthier fish, and not infrequently collapse. Even land farms turn into incubators for very serious diseases, like mad cow etc.

    Free range farming is the most sustainable. When the eel population collapses, there's more going wrong than just less eels for our sushi. The canary in the coal mine problem isn't fixed by simp

  • Hell yeah, unagi is my absolute favorite sushi of all time. If you've never had it, find a good sushi place and try it (emphasis on 'good'). And since it's actually served cooked, you wussies can't complain :P It's also served with an absolutely delicious teriyaki sauce.

    Close behind that one: ama ebi ^_^

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