Thu, May 19, 2011 - Page 15 News List

Eel prices break half-century record
鰻魚銷日價格 創五十年來新高

An electric motor splashes the surface of a fishpond in Yunlin County to introduce more oxygen into the water in this photo taken on May 10.
這張攝於五月十日的照片,是位在雲林一處漁塭的一個電動馬達打水增加水中含氧量。

Photo: Liao Shu-ling, Liberty Times
照片:自由時報記者廖淑玲

Eels are at their plumpest and prettiest from May to September every year. More than 80 percent of Taiwan’s eel is exported to Japan. Even though Japan survived the earthquake and tsunami that ravaged the country’s east coast on March 11, their demand for eel has not diminished, which is causing eel prices in Taiwan to soar. Eel is currently traded at more than NT$900 per kilogram, breaking a half-century record. Local businesses have already stealthily raised the price of unadon, a popular dish of grilled eel over a bed of rice, by NT$40 to NT$70 per portion.

An official at the Fisheries Agency said that climate change has caused the number of natural elvers to decrease, leaving production this year at a mere 2,000 tons, barely half of last year’s production of 4,000 to 5,000 tons. Summer is a time when Japanese consume the most eel, which is believed to be a health supplement, thus, export quantity also influences local prices. A gift box containing four eels is currently sold at around NT$1,000 per box, a NT$200 to NT$300 increase from previous prices.

One kilogram, or about four to six eels, is sold at as much as NT$920. However, the eel market is still proving profitable even though supply is unable to meet demand. The president of an eel cooperative in Yunlin County said the price per kilogram used to be under NT$700, but is expected to rise beyond NT$1,000 by the end of May, which means consumers will have to shovel out more money if they still wish to enjoy fresh eel.

One owner of a Japanese restaurant said she usually launches a special eel-based menu every year in June, but that she has yet to settle on her prices this year because she must refer to June eel prices to make her final decision. If one kilogram of eel exceeds NT$1,000, she will have to compromise with a price hike. The owner of an unadon restaurant in Greater Taichung said he already adjusted his prices on May 1 as a reaction to the cost of eel. Small portions were raised from NT$140 to NT$180 while big portions are now sold for NT$350, originally only NT$280.

TODAY’S WORDS 今日單字

1. ravage v.

蹂躪 (rou2 lin4)

例: The tornadoes that passed through here on Sunday ravaged the area.

(星期天經過此地的龍捲風蹂躪了這個區域。)

2. profitable adj.

有利潤的 (you3 li4 run4 de5)

例: If a company finds a product no longer profitable, they will usually stop selling that product.

(如果某公司發現一項產品沒有利潤了,它們通常會停止販賣該產品。)

3. compromise v.

讓步 (rang4 bu4)

例: We cannot compromise our beliefs if moral integrity still has any worth in society.

(如果道德操守在社會上還有一點價值,我們的信念就不能讓步。)


However, some business owners are choosing to limit the quantity of eel they serve instead of raising prices. One restaurant in Taipei is planning to reduce the amount of eel served in each portion so that every customer will still get a chance to enjoy their eel. They will also encourage customers to order other dishes to reduce the consumption of eel in their shop. On the other hand, a restaurant in Kaohsiung has opted to reduce the portions of unadon, the most popular dish they offer, to only 50 per day. The owner said if prices keep soaring he will be forced to raise his prices as well.

(LIBERTY TIMES, TRANSALTED BY TAIJING WU)

每年五月至九月是鰻魚最肥美的季節,八成以上的台灣鰻魚都外銷日本。即使日本遭強震蹂躪,對鰻魚需求仍未縮減,造成台灣鰻魚價格飆漲。目前每公斤漲破九百元,打破銷日五十年來的紀錄。坊間業者有人已將鰻魚飯價格悄悄調漲了四十元至七十元。

漁業署官員表示,由於受到天候影響,天然鰻苗減少,導致今年的鰻魚產量目前僅剩下二千公噸。去年此時約有四、五千公噸,等於少了一半。夏季正是日本以鰻魚夏季進補的季節,外銷量也會影響國內市場的價量。現在一盒四尾的蒲燒鰻禮盒已從七、八百元飆升到一千元。

雲林口湖地區目前四至六尾一公斤重的鰻價高達九百二十元,但因供不應求,後市依然有利潤,雲林縣的一個鰻魚合作社主席表示,以前每公斤平均交易價格都在七百元以下,今預估五月底可能衝破千元大關,消費者想吃到新鮮的鰻魚,恐怕得多掏荷包。

一家日本料理老闆娘說,以往每年六月都會推出限定的鰻魚料理,今年賣價卻遲遲未訂,得視六月的鰻魚進貨價決定,如果每公斤漲破千元,就得調漲價格了。台中鰻魚飯名店老闆表示,則已反映成本,從五月一日鰻魚飯調漲價格,小份從一百四十元漲至一百八十元,大份則是從二百八十元漲至三百五十元。

但也有業者不漲價,卻採限量供應的策略,如台北一家餐廳就以賣小份鰻魚飯讓來店的客人盡量都能吃得到,並盡量鼓勵饕客搭配其他料理,降低店裡的鰻魚使用量。高雄知名鰻魚飯店家則是採取減量供應的策略,以人氣鰻魚飯為例,每天限賣五十份,老闆表示,未來若進貨價格持續飆漲,也只能漲價因應。

(自由時報記者廖淑玲、鍾麗華、黃玉蓮、許麗娟、武純淳)

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