Business

Japan proposes 15% hike in bluefin catch quotas

JIJI

The government wants to raise catch quotas for Pacific bluefin tuna by 15 percent and has submitted the proposal to an international panel, government sources said.

Tokyo will seek the Northern Committee of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission’s approval for the proposal at a meeting in Fukuoka on Sept. 4.

Japan hopes the proposal will be formally adopted by the commission at its annual meeting in Hawaii in December.

Pacific bluefin are in high demand in Japan because they are used in high-grade sushi, but stock depletion has been a major concern recently.

The panel counts Japan, South Korea, the United States and Taiwan among its 10 members.

The proposal calls for increasing the catch quotas for each member by 15 percent in 2019 and later for young tuna weighing less than 30 kg, and large tuna weighing at least 30 kg.

The proposal also envisions a system that lets part of the unused quota be carried over to the following year.

Stocks of adult Pacific bluefin fell to some 12,000 tons in 2010, about one-fourteenth of their peak volume. The panel aims to raise that figure to 43,000 tons by 2024.

Japan made the proposal after a report compiled by some international scientific organization said stocks of Pacific bluefin rose to some 21,000 tons in 2016.

The report also said there is a 74 percent chance the tuna stock recovery target would be achieved even if the quotas are raised by 15 percent.

Japan’s catch quota is 4,007 tons for small Pacific bluefin tuna and 4,882 tons for larger fish.