Seafood-loving Japan — having faced years of international pressure to stop whaling — finds itself with a potentially bigger fight over a highly prized type of tuna that conservation groups say is being fished to extinction.

A proposal to ban the export of Atlantic bluefin tuna — vaunted for its succulent red and pink meat — could slash supplies and drive up prices in Japan, the world's biggest consumer and importer of the fish.

Talk of an import ban has made some Japanese feel their very way of life is under attack. The fish is often served as sushi.