Aquaculture North America

New hope for eel aquaculture

The practice of catching juvenile eels from the wild and raising them in farms to adulthood has provided Asian markets with supply of this slippery delicacy, but most eels raised are male, which does not yield enough product to be worthwhile.

An innovation from Nova Scotia, Canada could make this type of eel aquaculture a commercially viable operation by turning male eels into faster-growing and heavier females.

November 1, 2017
By Liza Mayer
NovaEel CEO Dr Paul Smith expects to begin raising eels as early as 2020

New aquaculture company NovaEel said it has succeeded in turning glass eels into females, and have them stay female in crowded conditions, without risk to human health.

The company, founded by a group of licensed eel fishers and companies from Nova Scotia and Maine, worked with scientists at Dalhousie Medical School to perfect the eel-feminization method.

“We’ve validated a method of feminizing the eels using a form of estrogen known as estradiol, and can confirm this feminization even before the eels develop any visible sexual characteristics,” Dr James Fawcett, a professor in the departments of Pharmacology and Surgery told Dalhousie University’s school paper, Dal News. “Most importantly for human health, we’ve found that the eels’ estradiol levels return to normal in a matter of days, leaving no residue behind in the tissue.”

With the main challenge in eel farming now addressed, the next step for NovaEel is to seek FDA and Health Canada approval for the process and the medication, and then move on to practical matters of raising the female eels, said the university.


NovaEel plans to harvest baby eels in the wild and farm them in low-impact, land-based production facilities. It expects to begin raising eels as early as 2020, assuming all goes well with regulatory approvals, said Dal News.

“Why continue to literally ship our industry’s growth potential to China?” asks Paul Smith, CEO of NovaEel. “We want to capture the potential value of this industry for the Maritime economy by raising the eels for market here. Thanks to our partners at Dalhousie, we expect to be able to do that.”

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1 Comment » for New hope for eel aquaculture
  1. Igor Lapukhin says:

    Dear Sirs & Madams,
    It was so exiting to read your articles on your web-site about success and achievements, reached by the company AMERICAN UNAGI and its President – Sara Rademaker, who is developing and introducing her concept of environmentally friendly business on the North American soil. (We have already contacted with Mrs. Rademaker and expressed to her our respect and admiration).

    As far, as the reason of our apply to you is concerned, please, read my message below.

    I have long-term business partners – some large fishery & fish processing companies, who are catching different types of fish (including eels) and process them on their own factory in Northern Africa. Recently, I have received the following offer from them.

    They are ready now to start shipping to the United States and/or Canada permanently and regularly – substantial lots of live juvenile eels of the «fingerling» weight bar/category: 10 – 50 grams (0,022 – 0,11 lbs) each.

    They asked me to find in the USA and/or Canada stable and reliable partners, involved in the eel farming/trading business, who could be interested in buying of such types of live eels for further raising. We are proposing to start currently from pure sales of young eels of the above sizes. Further, in the next season, which does not coincide for almost half a year in the Northern Africa with the similar – on the US East Coast, they will be ready to start shipping to the USA «glass eels» for local aquaculture farmers.
    (!!! Please, pay your attention to potential benefits, which could arise in favor of our possible cooperation due to such time discrepancies in «glass eels» catching seasons. Clients will be able to refill their fish-stocking twice a year).

    We consider your Association to be the best «bridge» between us and our potential business partners from Canada and/or US states, adjacent to US East Coast, where eel farming business is developed most widely. We hope, that you are familiar with such aquaculture professionals, who could be interested in our offer.

    Are you interested to discuss with me and my partners such business opportunities? I am ready to submit you all necessary information and details about this proposal: we could discuss it by means of conference-call with you and my partner – the owner of the above fishery & fish-processing companies.

    Looking forward to feedback from you and your comments to this my e-mail address: (If you plan to call me: please, indicate your phone number in your initial message, that I could insert it in my phone-book, to avoid its transfer to spam calls list.)

    Best regards,

    Igor Lapukhin,
    The Woodlands, TX, 77382.
    On behalf of «Aquaculture Star LLC»,
    Phone: (832) 716-2502

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