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Japan to propose introducing cap on saury fishing in northern Pacific

JIJI

Japan plans to propose introducing an overall cap on Pacific saury catches by all eight member economies of the North Pacific Fisheries Commission (NPFC), officials have said.

The country will put forward the proposal, designed to prevent overfishing in the northern Pacific, at an annual NPFC meeting which will begin in Tokyo on Tuesday for three days, the officials said.

The NPFC also includes China, Taiwan and South Korea.

At last year’s meeting Japan, which has been grappling with low saury catches, proposed setting catch quotas for each NPFC member economy. But the proposal failed due to opposition from China, which has been increasing saury catches at a rapid rate.

Japan is increasingly concerned over the depletion of saury stocks in the northern Pacific. The proposal for an overall cap, not quotas for each member economy, can be palatable, the Japanese officials said.

The nation’s catches of the autumn delicacy fell to some 130,000 tons last year, a quarter of their 1958 peak, according to the Fisheries Agency.

The decline reflects high-seas fishing by China and Taiwan before the fish’s migration to waters near Japan and a rise in ocean temperatures from global warming, agency officials said.

Some officials of Japan’s ruling coalition are concerned that the attitude of South Korea may affect this year’s meeting at a time when Tokyo and Seoul are in dispute over Japan’s tightened exports of semiconductor materials to South Korea.