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Japan again proposes raising bluefin tuna fishing quota

24 Comments

Japan called again Tuesday for expanding the fishing quota for Pacific bluefin tuna at an international fisheries commission after the proposal was rejected last year.

Deeming that stocks of the fish widely used for sushi and sashimi are recovering, Tokyo is seeking up to a 20 percent increase in national quotas during the session of the Northern Committee of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission being held in Portland through Friday.

"We would like to make efforts so Japan's proposal for expanding the quotas will be passed," Shingo Ota of the Fisheries Agency, who heads the Japanese delegation to the talks, told reporters after the session's Tuesday opening.

It is unclear whether other members will agree to the proposal, particularly as tensions between Japan and South Korea have risen since Japan tightened controls on exports to its Asian neighbor.

Japan's previous proposal on the fish in the North Pacific was turned down at the commission last year amid opposition from the United States and the Cook Islands, which argued that depleted Pacific bluefin tuna stocks have not recovered sufficiently.

In 2010, the stocks of the fish dropped sharply to a record-low level of 12,000 tons due to overfishing, but they had recovered to about 21,000 tons by 2016 with the help of fishing restrictions.

Japan is seeking to increase the quota for large fish weighing over 30 kilograms by 20 percent, while raising that of smaller fish by 10 percent.

As the WCPFC aims to bring stocks to 43,000 tons by 2024, the focus of the meeting's discussion is on whether members can still achieve the target if they expand the quota.

The Northern Committee consists of 10 members, but China and three other members were not present at the start of the meeting.

The commission will not fulfill the requirement of having at least eight attending members for reaching a formal agreement if the four members continue to skip the meeting.

The U.S. delegation has suggested changing the rule so meetings can formally adopt agreements no matter how many members are present.

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Will Japan simply quit the Northern Committee of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission if it doesn't get its way? You know, like it did with the IWC.

19 ( +22 / -3 )

the focus of the meeting's discussion is on whether members can still achieve the target if they expand the quota.

So, this means they are intend to increase the quota to an unsustainable quantity. What a wonderfully environmentally friendly decision that is. Get your glut on while you can Japan. There's only a few decades of tunas left in the seas. Most populations have already been decimated beyond the point of recovery and are only hanging on by the populations of smaller weaker fish left to replenish the stocks. All populations of tuna are becoming genetically smaller due to overfishing of the larger breeding fish. If they had any brains at all they would be reducing the quota of larger fish in an attempt to let the populations recover. But, no! Let's just catch more! Screw future generations and screw the environmental balance. We want money! Only when Japan has caught the last tuna will they realise they can't eat money!

13 ( +16 / -3 )

Excatly Chip Star. Japan has long since proven that it is not willing to be a responsible member of international marine conventions, thus showing its dubious commitment to marine welfare.

Japan is trading its fish that everyone wants for whales that everyone doesn't.

15 ( +18 / -3 )

Japan is a great country, but when it comes to conservation it is utterly and completely clueless. Nations like Japan are going to be responsible for the end of so many species. The last will be its own.

Get better leaders before it is to late.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

Geez - they just don't get it do they.

The Concept of Conservation is not something these vested interest moguls actively understand let alone pursue.

Mind boggles that the media doesn't jump all over this and expose it for what it is - Entitlement & Greed.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Japan might have gotten consideration on the tuna issue if they’d not stubbornly fight for whale killing. There’s no credibility to Japan’s desire for anything to do with fishing when they can’t understand the negativity of whaling!

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Mind boggles that the media doesn't jump all over this and expose it for what it is - Entitlement & Greed.

How do you expect the media to expose the country in a bad light when the media and government are both obsessed with portraying Japan to the outside world no matter what as a great and faultless country.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

waiting on the "their culture their rules BS argument" when there are no tuna left to catch youve basically just killed of part of your culture havent you!

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Geez - they just don't get it do they.

when it comes to ocean conservation Japan is about as trustworthy as a thief in a bank vault, "just a few more nobody will notice, everything will be just fine"

8 ( +11 / -3 )

stocks of the fish dropped sharply to a record-low level of 12,000 tons due to overfishing, but they had recovered to about 21,000 tons by 2016 with the help of fishing restrictions.

E.g, when less is caught, the fisheries resources can recover some.

This is a conservation success story.

the WCPFC aims to bring stocks to 43,000 tons by 2024

So the goal is to double the resources in five years.

Ok, sounds good from a conservation perspective.

So, if a little more were caught from now, the time at which the resources recover to the target level would be delayed. For the trade-off of being able to catch a little more than current levels.

Yeah.

Huh so why are y’all up in arms and saying there is a conservation problem here?

Conservation is about conserving resources, not outright protecting them so that no one can benefit from the resource at all.

mine may be an unpopular opinion but it’s a correct one.

-11 ( +1 / -12 )

Conservation is about conserving resources, not outright protecting them so that no one can benefit from the resource at all.

mine may be an unpopular opinion but it’s a correct one.

Superbly argued, fxgai. Dont worry about the anti-Japan crowd. Your opinion is right. I am shocked and puzzled that some people want to enforce a total ban on bluefin Tuna fishing.

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

Ganbare

A couple of facts -

"...Japan — by far the world's biggest consumer of bluefin, eating about 80 percent of the global haul in the $42 billion tuna industry — had been resisting new rules, while conservationists have warned about the commercial extinction of bluefin in the Pacific Ocean..."

"...The Pacific bluefin population has been depleted by more than 97 percent from its historic high, because of overfishing. .."

A moratorium on the taking of Pacific Blue Fin for a few years would contribute greatly to re-establishing manageable levels of this dangerously depleted species.

A couple of years of biting the bullet so as to speak - you know people giving up their cravings for ¥100 maguro sushi for future generations - but it seems as though greed will win out once again.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

I am shocked and puzzled that some people want to enforce a total ban on bluefin Tuna fishing.

Nobody here is proposing that, which is why you may be puzzled. They are opposed to Japan increasing the quota by 20% on a species that is still very much in trouble.

So, if a little more were caught from now, the time at which the resources recover to the target level would be delayed.

That's logical, yes. But is it too much to ask for restraint for another five years? Is tuna in Japan's eateries scarce right now?

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Superbly argued, fxgai. Dont worry about the anti-Japan crowd. Your opinion is right.

but your not right, always the "Japan bashing BS excuses" the FACTS are blue fin tuna stocks are at 3% of what they once were, nowhere near sustainable levels, especially since more countries are now eating sushi than ever before and it continues to rise. many on here should work for Japan fisheries they are really good at moving figures around to make things seem all rosy. The FACTS are tuna levels have been depleted by 97% due to overfishing, majority of blue fin tuna is bought by Japan consumed by Japanese

https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/articles/2018/05/21/pacific-bluefin-tuna-stock-remains-highly-depleted-new-science-shows

6 ( +8 / -2 )

So, if a little more were caught from now, the time at which the resources recover to the target level would be delayed. For the trade-off of being able to catch a little more than current levels.

Wrong.

First, it is not a little more : it is 20% or 10% depending of the size.

Second, that can make a heavy difference as it tend to go nearer the rate of population renewal (I do not think they are crazy enough to ask to go under). The nearer you go to it the higher the chance of going under because of unplanned factor.

Third, I do not see the need of the increase regarding Japan consumption. Look at the 50% or more cut in supermarket right before the closing, you can find tuna and a lot of other fish. What is the point of endangering species just to fill a trashbin ?

6 ( +7 / -1 )

One day when our food sources are depleted and gone,

our children will shake their heads at our stupidity...

3 ( +5 / -2 )

A moratorium on the taking of Pacific Blue Fin for a few years would contribute greatly to re-establishing manageable levels of this dangerously depleted species.

Yes, but a moratorium simultaneously precludes any catch at all.

It’s overkill, pun intended.

A modest, sustainable catch can still enable the stock to increase in size, and the article itself states that this has happened so far.

But is it too much to ask for restraint for another five years? 

There is already restraint through the existing quota level, the resource has increased, and so there is a proposal to allow a higher level of catch now, as a trade-off for a higher levels of catch - in five years from now which might be as good as never for some involved.

That is a sane, rational debate to have. It’s a trade off decision for the managers of the fishery to decide upon.

There is no debate about driving the stock to commercial depletion, that’s out of the question.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Bad Japan.

The tuna is already stressed. You want to eat this stuff in 10 years, don't you?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I am shocked and puzzled that some people want to enforce a total ban on bluefin Tuna fishing.

I am shocked and puzzled that people continue to use easily debunked straw-men arguments because they are so lazy and incurious, they think everyone is.

Oh, wait. I'm not...

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Tokyo is seeking up to a 20 percent increase in national quotas during the session of the Northern Committee of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission being held in Portland through Friday.

I could understand a 2%, even 5%, but 20%?

and all this about climate change, species facing extinction. Im convinced that if Japanese and Chinese had their way, every rhino, elephant, tuna, whale, and others would be devoured out of extinction.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

20% sounds like a lot, but these are fish. Not whales.

Let's go back and read the article again. 

The stocks had been at 12,000 tons, but have recovered to 21,000 tons under fishing restrictions. The current plan projects the stocks to be at 43,000 tons in 5 years.

If stocks are projected to become 3-4 times larger than where they were, and the current quotas are projected to allow an increase in size by double in 5 years, then is catching 20% more than current (evidently) sustainable rates each year so preposterous?

To make the judgement, it's really necessary to look at the actual scientific projections, rather than just draw conclusions based upon the perceived degree of increase.

In any case, as the stocks recover further, it only follows that a larger stock of fish can sustain a higher level of catch. People need to get used to this - the fish stock is increasing here, it's a success story!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Yakuza are doing great and catching blue fin Tuna illegally. The business is booming for Yakuza.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

No one's going to die from the complete lack of Tuna in their diet.

It's not about need, it's only about making money and conspicuous displays of wealth.

Tuna should be allowed to return to their 100% mark, and then reconsidered.

Just because something exists it does not mean it needs or should be exploited.

I suspect Japan has done near to zero proper scientific research in the role they play in the ecosystem?

Generally "scientific research" in this field goes as far as which brand of seasoning they taste best with.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Tuna should be allowed to return to their 100% mark, and then reconsidered.

That’s pointless.

A fishery that sustains any yield is by definition, not at it’s 100% capacity.

So having the fishery recover to 100% before then just fishing it down to some lower level (say 40%) is just a waste of time and simply infeasible.

Reality is, people want to catch some fish.

OK. Let’s aim to have that done sustainably then, and maximize the benefits.

Zero fishing? That has as good a chance as demanding that people stop breathing the air!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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