• Jiji

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An international panel rejected a Japan-proposed plan to increase catch quotas for Pacific bluefin tuna during an online conference on Thursday, the same outcome as at last year’s meeting, the country’s Fisheries Agency said.

The United States argued that tuna stocks continue to be scarce in the Pacific and objected to the proposal. Approval from all members of the Northern Committee of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission is required for a proposal to be passed.

Japan claimed that stocks of adult bluefin tuna have been recovering. It called for a 20 percent expansion in the respective quotas for fish above and below 30 kilograms.

The government plans to propose larger catch quotas again at a meeting of the panel next year after revamping its strategy.

Meanwhile, participants agreed to extend a system in which member economies are allowed to carry over up to 17 percent of their respective annual bluefin tuna quotas to the following year if they did not use up their shares. Although the upper limit is normally set at 5 percent, Japan urged the committee to keep it at 17 percent to support fishers.

The Northern Committee has 10 members, including Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States.

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