• Kyodo

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Japan will propose invoking emergency fishing restrictions for bluefin tuna in the North Pacific if stocks of juvenile tuna remain at a low level for three consecutive years, government sources said.

The proposal, which would be in response to stocks of tuna younger than 1 year old, will be presented to a subcommittee meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission in Fukuoka from Aug. 29 to Sept. 2.

Annual stock of bluefin tuna this age is about 4.5 million.

It was considered at extremely low levels in 1992 and 1993.

Given that most of the bluefin tuna caught in the Pacific is consumed in Japan for sushi, Tokyo intends to show its readiness to control the marine resource, the sources said Wednesday.

Participating countries may discuss less restrictive conditions for invoking emergency steps at the forthcoming meeting. Emergency restrictions may involve a fishing ban for a certain period or sharp cuts in catches.

With the resource having fallen in the Pacific due to overfishing, the international fisheries commission agreed last year to compile emergency measures to deal with an event in which the species faces the risk of extinction.

The details of the measures are supposed to be worked out this year.

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