IWAKI, Fukushima Pref. (Kyodo) Global warming is seen behind the record 1,000 tons of “shirasu,” or whitebait, caught off Fukushima Prefecture’s coast as of the end of August, the northern limit for fishing the species, experts said Saturday.

The annual catch of shirasu, a type of herring, has gradually increased in the prefecture since about 2000 and reached 1,932 tons last year, according to the Fukushima fisheries experiment station.

The previous record through August was 572 tons registered in 2007, the station said.

In contrast, Shizuoka and Aichi prefectures, leading fishing areas for shirasu, have faced a sluggish harvest this year. Hiroshi Kubota, a senior researcher at the Fisheries Research Agency, said regional differences in whitebait catches in northern and southern waters must be due to global warming. “It is necessary to keep a close watch on future trends,” he said.

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