Japanese eels put on endangered species 'red list' as Japan mulls ways to reverse decline

A Japanese eel that is a popular summertime delicacy has been put on the international "red list" for endangered species.

Japan's agriculture minister urged that efforts to boost the eel population be stepped up after the International Union for Conservation of Nature designated the Japanese eel as "endangered," or facing a very high risk of extinction.

Other species of eel are also facing various levels of threat due to habitat damage and overfishing.

The decision by the IUCN to put the Japanese eel on its red list could lead to global restrictions. Such criteria are used to decide on trade restrictions under an international treaty on trade in endangered animals and plants.