• Kyodo

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At an upcoming international fisheries meeting, Japan will propose the establishment of country-by-country catch quotas for saury, farm minister Yuji Yamamoto said Tuesday.

The proposal reflects Japan’s concern over rapid increases in the fish catches of China and Taiwan in recent years. The government plans to propose a quota of 560,000 tons in total for the seven countries and Taiwan that participate in the North Pacific Fisheries Commission, dividing the quota among the members based on their past catch levels.

The proposal envisions allocating 240,000 tons of the catch quota to Japan, 190,000 tons to Taiwan and 40,000 tons to China.

The government has informed the commission’s participating members of its proposal ahead of their meeting scheduled to start Thursday in Sapporo.

The proposal is expected to face a backlash from China, which is expected to seek a greater quota.

The commission was launched in 2015 to discuss how to protect marine ecosystems in the North Pacific, and the upcoming meeting is its third. Other members of the commission are Canada, Russia, South Korea, the United States and Vanuatu.

“We will propose establishing a country-by-country catch quota system, and put a cap on the number of authorized fishing ships to strengthen fisheries resource control for saury,” Yamamoto said at a regular news conference after Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting.

Japan plans to stress at the meeting the importance of setting up legally binding regulations on saury catch levels.

According to the Fisheries Agency, the total saury catch in the North Pacific over the past five years has ranged from 354,000 to 625,000 tons. Of that, Japan’s catch has ranged from 112,000 to 224,000 tons, with its volume on the decline in recent years.

On the other hand, Chinese data shows the country’s catch of the fish surged to around 50,000 tons in 2015 from around 2,000 in 2012.

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