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Japan’s request to increase catch quotas for Pacific bluefin tuna has failed to win endorsement by the regional fisheries commission for two years in a row, as the United States once again opposed an increase, claiming such a move would be premature. Despite a modest recovery since the fishing quotas was introduced in 2015, the stock of Pacific bluefin tuna remains close to the historic low levels and not much more than 10 percent of its peak.

Behind Japan’s repeated calls for expanding the catch quotas is the plight of domestic fishermen, who complain that the restricted fishing regulations have sharply reduced their income and put their livelihood in danger. However, the region’s stock of large tuna with breeding capability stood at 21,000 tons in 2016 — up from a low of 12,000 tons in 2010 but still a fraction of the peak of 168,000 tons in 1961.

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