National

Japan to propose larger quotas for Pacific bluefin tuna

JIJI

Japan plans to propose an expansion of catch quotas for bluefin tuna in the Pacific Ocean at an international meeting in the United States in September, informed sources have said.

The move comes amid the recovery of bluefin tuna stocks thanks in part to past fishing regulations, the sources said Friday.

Tokyo will make the proposal at a meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission’s Northern Committee, which comprises 10 of the 26 member economies of the WCPFC, including Japan, South Korea and the United States.

Japan will call for catch quota hikes for members carrying out bluefin tuna fishing in the middle and western areas of the Pacific. Details of the proposal will be decided by balancing quotas for small tuna, weighing less than 30 kilograms, and those for larger fish.

Japan’s annual quota is currently set at 4,007 tons for small tuna, caught mainly by coastal fishermen, and 4,882 tons for larger fish, caught in the open seas.

At a meeting in March, an international organization maintained its 2018 evaluation that the number of fertile adult tuna is on a moderate recovery trend in the northern area of the Pacific and there is room for increasing the catch quotas.

At last year’s Northern Committee meeting, Japan proposed a 15 percent quota expansion for both small and larger bluefin tuna, but no agreement was reached.