Japan to halve Pacific bluefin catch

Kyodo

Japan will halve its catch of juvenile bluefin tuna in the Pacific starting in 2015, the government said Monday, boosting its efforts to protect the species amid international concern about declining stocks.

The decision to implement a 50 percent cut in the catch from the 2002-2004 average of 8,015 tons comes as the stock of adult bluefin tuna over 4 years old fell close to a record low in 2012 due to overfishing, the Fisheries Agency said.

In December, an international conference involving Japan agreed to cut each nation’s quota for juvenile bluefin tuna in 2014 by more than 15 percent from the 2002-2004 average in the Western Pacific.

But Japan has concluded that target won’t be enough to achieve its goal of raising the Pacific stock to around 43,000 tons, agency officials said.

The stock of adult bluefin tuna in the Pacific is estimated at 26,000 tons, according to the agency.