The Market Position
Over the Chinese New Year glass eels continued to flood into Asia. The Hong Kong price fell to 600 Euros per kilo.  The flow to Asia had lessened over the last few weeks and once again the demand is strong and prices have increased to 850 Euros.
The Caribbean supply which was more than 10 tonnes this year has decreased as the season draws to a close. Market prices were low at the start of the season but have closed at more than 2000 USD per kilo.  There will be a strong demand for A. rostrata when the season opens in the US. Perhaps prices will exceed 5000 USD this year?
The market for A. japonica has largely been fulfilled in Taiwan and Korea. However it is a different situation for mainland China which has been waiting for prices to fall at the end of the season.  There is now a shortage of A. japonica .The opposite has happened. The China farms now have to pay double of what they could have purchased at the start of the new year when the price of A. japonica was a mere 9-10 rmb per piece. It is now 15 rmb per piece.  Assuming a count of 5500 pieces per kilo that equates to 11500 Euros per kilo.  Gold is currently 36,500 Euros per kilo.
The introduction of the tropical species for aquaculture has only been partially successful. There is still a little interest in Bicola. However, after three years of trials in Asia it has not been possible to successfully farm Mozambica.  There was an incredible harvest of Mozambica this year.  I have been given a report of one tonne being harvested in one night. There is no demand and most of the production has been frozen and for a time was being offered in Europe at 30 Euros per kilo.   When it comes to regulating the trade it needs to be recognised that there is not a simple substitution between species.

Only about 3 tonnes of the 12 tonnes required in China have been purchased.  There will be a strong demand for japonica and rostrata over the next 6 weeks. We expect our own fishery to continue to be targeted by criminal activity as in previous years to support this demand.
For the last three years this illegal trade has been ignored.  The locations of the premises where this activity takes are not secret. 
It is difficult to understand why this trade has been allowed to continue from the UK. It probably has something to do with the fact that there are a five regulatory agencies all with different priorities, resources and local agendas. None have a global overview of the problem and the legal sector, as opposed to being viewed as victims of the crime, are perceived to be part of the problem.
Illegal Trading - The Illegal exports to Asia Continue.
 A number of consignments have been intercepted. I suggest you look at the following links and the photographs below.
  1. Glass eels should survive in wet packing for 40 hours. The photographs demonstrate that the glass eels are dead.
  2. The bags are inadequate. The size, the ratios of fish, water and oxygen are not correct.
  3. Overall the packaging needs to be improved.  There is no thermal insulation or ice gel packs.  
I can only conclude that the people that are being caught are opportunistic amateurs. It is difficult to believe that the margins are still sufficient to make this illegal trade  worthwhile. If these people, from their experience learned this year,  develop the skills to make successful  transports then  next year  they will only  be encouraged to continue with the trade.  

50% of the glass eel economy has been hijacked by criminal organisations who are well financed and properly organised. At peak times up to 400/500 kgs of live glass eels were being shipped to Asia each day. While there is demand from Asia and CITES regulations are structured in a manner that creates a strong parallel economy I cannot see that it is possible to control these exports from Europe.  I am told for a consignment of 300 Kilos a fee of 200,000 yuan will secure safe passage through customs. Until China takes responsibility of the international regulations this business will continue.   It is a dysfunctional system of regulatory control and an alternative system for the management of the species should be sought.  Left as it is any legal businesses with only 50% of the sector’s economy will not be able to survive.
Note: one euro = 7.19 rmb