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COA promotes eel and seafood in Japan Market


The Council of Agriculture (COA) has launched a NT$20 million campaign to promote eel products exports to Japan -- Taiwan's largest overseas market for the snakelike fish -- during its peak consumption period in mid-summer.

Unagi (freshwater eel) is rich in protein, calcium, vitamin A and E and is to boost people's stamina. For this reason, unagi is eaten the most during the hottest time of the year in Japan.

As part of the campaign, the Taiwan Eel Farming Industry Development Foundation, a nonprofit group under the subsidy of COA, invited
Japanese children to cook "the longest dish of eel and rice”at a Tokyo elementary school, drawing the attention of the Japanese media and consumers.

The campaign, which runs from July 15 until the end of August, focuses on strengthening the brand image of Taiwanese eel, according to officials at the Council's Department of International Affairs.

The drive highlights the safety, high quality and flavor of eel from Taiwan through a series of events such as advertisements, feature reports, news conferences, logo designs and promotional activities in Japanese department stores, the officials said.

Although eel has exported from Taiwan to Japan for many years, many Japanese have no idea the fish they are eating in restaurants comes from Taiwan.

Fishery products labeling was introduced after the Japan Agricultural Standards (JAS) Law was revised in 1999. The COA noted that the tightening of the standard in recent years could be the best opportunity Taiwan's eel industry has to promote its high quality products.

Meanwhile, the Council also subsidized the Taiwan Frozen Seafood Industries Association to promote Taiwanese seafood products at the Japan International Seafood and Technology Expo, which was held from
July 22 to 24 at Tokyo Big Sight.

The initiative was designed to help Taiwan's fishery industry expand into the Japanese market and push Taiwan products into the international limelight.