Monday, March 4, 2024 – Demand for a Japanese staple sparks treaty fishing disputes in the West

Overfishing in Japan, a thriving black market, and even the Fukushima nuclear disaster are all fanning the flames of fishing disputes involving tribes in Nova Scotia and Maine. Eels cannot reproduce in captivity. So juvenile glass eels, known as elvers, are a valuable commodity for Japanese aquaculture. They supply demand for a popular traditional dish in Japan. That demand is so high, it is threatening eel fisheries to the point that Canada is shutting down commercial seasons. Tribes maintain their treaty right to fish despite the government’s mandate. That’s causing rifts with non-Indigenous fishers and government officials.