Global body fails to agree on tighter Pacific bluefin tuna rules

JIJI

An international body managing tuna fishing in the eastern Pacific failed to agree on tighter restrictions on bluefin tuna catches at its annual meeting in Peru last week, the Fisheries Agency said Saturday.

Japan, Mexico and the United States, each a member of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission, will hold another meeting on fishing regulations for 2015 and beyond, with an aim to conclude the talks as early as October.

At the five-day meeting in Lima through Friday, Japan proposed halving catches of immature bluefin tuna allowed in eastern Pacific waters based on the average catch from 2002 to 2004, following a sharp fall in bluefin tuna resources in the Pacific. Juvenile bluefin tuna weigh less than 30 kg and cannot lay eggs.

But Mexico strongly opposed the proposal out of concerns over adverse effects on its fishery industry, and the talks ended without an agreement.

If adopted, the tighter restriction will mainly affect Mexican fishermen. Japan currently does not catch bluefin tuna in the eastern Pacific, including waters off the United States and Mexico.