Israel is planning to buy more than a million lampreys and other marine animals from a California company in a deal worth up to $6 million, according to Israeli news outlets.
The deal with California-based LavaLamprey has been under development for more than two years, according a statement from the Israeli Embassy in Washington, DC.
It said the deal is expected to be finalized by the end of this year.
Israel’s government is also buying fish from a company based in the US, according the statement.
The lamprey was named after the biblical prophet Jonah.
Israel is the largest producer of lampreys in the world, accounting for about half of the worldwide market, according one of the companies representatives.
LavaLight, which is based in San Diego, said it plans to import the lampreys to Israel for the next three years.
Israel purchased more than 10 million lamprey eggs in the first half of 2017, according LavaPrey, an Israeli news outlet.
The company’s chairman, Shlomo Nesher, told the LA Times that the sale of lamprey is a good business opportunity for the country.
Israel also plans to buy hundreds of thousands of lampryns for its coastal aquaculture industry, the report said.
The country has one of Israel’s largest lampreys population in the Mediterranean Sea, according SeaWorld, and has already purchased hundreds of millions of lampreys from other countries.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that Israel has the world’s largest stockpile of lampres, which are among the most endangered species in the animal kingdom.