Japan breaches international cap on annual Pacific bluefin catches


The government said Thursday that Japan has exceeded the annual limit on its catches of immature Pacific bluefin tuna, breaking an international commitment only two years after the regulation was introduced.

The domestic catch of the threatened fish, a popular choice for sushi and other Japanese dishes, reached 4,008 tons on Thursday, topping the cap of 4,007 tons for the year through June, the Fisheries Agency said in a preliminary report.

Japan and other members of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission adopted quotas for the fish in 2015.

Japan has caught more bluefin in the Pacific this year than any other nation, and its breach of the limit is likely to trigger criticism from other countries.

The agency said the result was due to unusually large catches in western Japan as well as tuna inadvertently caught in nets fixed for other species of fish.

The excess catch for the year will be deducted from next year’s quota.

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