JAPANESE SCIENTISTS SEARCH PALAU FOR EEL DELICACY

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No ‘Unagi’ found for cook pot

By Maripet L. Poso KOROR (Palau Horizon, June 30, 2010) – After spending 10 days in Palau, tracking and surveying eels in rivers and streams in Babeldaob, the two Japanese Aquarists from Aquamarine Fukushima in Japan said they found no presence of Japanese Eel in Palau, but they still want to do further research in the future.

Koji Matsuzaki and Yoshinori Harumoto, Chief Aquarist and Assistant Chief Aquarist, respectively, from Aquamarine Fukushima, were in Palau last week to track if Japanese eels or Unagi exist in Palau. Instead of Japanese eels, they found another species of eel called Anguilla marmorata or marbled eel.

Unagi is a Japanese delicacy. It’s a common ingredient in Japanese cooking.

According to Kambes Kesolei, Chief Aquarist of Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC), "This is their second visit; the last time was in November last year. They want to find out if there is a presence of Japanese Eel in Palau waters."

The two Japanese Aquarists are also doing a project called Benzaitan Eel Project, learning all about the habits and habitats of eels.

In January next year, Kesolei said Aquamarine Fukushima will also be sending a team to Palau to survey the presence of coealocanth, an ancient fish that exist more than 200 million years ago.

"The species are being studied to give us more information on how marine animals evolve into land animals," said Kesolei. Coealocanth have been discovered in South Africa, Indonesia and Indian Ocean.

Aquamarine Fukushima has a Friendship Agreement with PICRC; they have signed a resolution in March 2003.

"Both organizations express the need to provide clearer understanding of the dynamic interactions that exist between marine terrestrial habitats and promote responsible stewardship of the world’s oceans," said Kesolei. "Our goals are common."

Both organizations exchange education and conservation information, technology and husbandry techniques and aquatic specimen.

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