Japan to halve bluefin tuna catch in Northern Pacific
Agence France-Presse in Tokyo
Japan plans to slash by half the amount of juvenile bluefin tuna taken from the Northern Pacific starting next year, compared to the 2002-2004 average, reports said.
The Fisheries Agency has decided to increase protection for bluefin tuna amid international concerns about declining stocks, according to major media, including the Yomiuri Shimbun and the Mainichi Shimbun.
Studies have found that the stocks of bluefin tuna, prized by sushi lovers, have fallen dramatically, with juveniles forming the majority of specimens now being caught.
Last year, an international conference involving Japan agreed to cut each nation's quota for juvenile bluefin tuna this year by more than 15 per cent from the 2002-2004 average, according to Kyodo News. But Japan, the world's biggest tuna consumer, has concluded bluefin tuna stocks will not sufficiently increase unless the quota is significantly reduced, the Yomiuri said.
Stocks of bluefin tuna aged four or older in the Northern Pacific are estimated at 26,000 tonnes, according to the agency.
The Japanese plan is aimed at encouraging other nations to adopt bigger cuts in their tuna catch quota, Kyodo said.