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Japan to propose 50% cut in young tuna catch

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© 2014 AFP

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Sensible move.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Tuna is one of my most favorite sushi menus, so this movement is quite necessary in the long run if we want tunas never to be extinct.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Let's hope other nations will follow suit.

Australia and NZ might complain as they mostly catch young Tuna to stock their Tuna farms.

Saw a report on telly soon and it is amazing how many non-japanede think that Japanese eat sushi, sashimi and tuna daily.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Wow, this is an encouraging move. And a bit of a pleasant surprise. Those countries that most avail themselves of the ocean's blessings should have an active interest in protecting ocean resources and using them sustainably. Although I'm sure that many fishers will not be too happy about this, in the end they would more unhappy if the stocks disappeared completely. So, a step in the right direction.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Its about time! Seen in sport fishing, tuna catch size and quantity drop over the years. Not scientific though an indicator.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Good start. Now let's see Japan also ban imports from nations fishing outside the Pacific if it's seen to influence overfishing, too!

3 ( +7 / -4 )

“Bluefin tuna is virtually the main resource in waters around Japan. Japan must take the lead in protecting that resource,” said Masanori Miyahara, president of Japan’s Fisheries Research Agency, during a meeting with tuna fishermen in Tokyo.

"Take the lead" -- hardly! More like dragged kicking and screaming. Just read this part of the article:

The shift in Japan’s policy towards more radical conservation comes after an international independent assessment found last year that stocks of bluefin tuna, prized by sushi lovers, had fallen 96 percent from their original levels.

Finally "getting religion" after you've depleted stocks by 96% is certainly not anything to be proud of. Japan's supposed concern for the environment is just so much hot air.

-4 ( +8 / -12 )

But what percentage of Japan's total catch are young tuna? The article states that "young fish form the majority of specimens being caught." Do they also make up a majority of Japan's catch?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

A victim of money lust.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

96%!? Sounds like the point of no return. A ban for a few decades might be their only hope

7 ( +8 / -1 )

epcochal might be the biggest understatment ever. although this is 10 years too late, it's better late than never.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This was an inevitability brought about by the reduced consumption of fish by the Japanese population. And it applies primarily to Japan and not necessarily other nations.

If you visit the fish auction houses all over Japan and look at the national fisheries reports on consumption, of fish (as with rice) have dropped by almost 40% over the past 10 to 15 years. The sad thing is, it is continuing to decrease each year. It is being replaced by meat and food supplements.

If one looks at the use of millions of clams to get concentrated extracts to produce health supplements, it indicates the reduced consumption of what was till recently a regular menu item. Quick and easily prepared foods dominate.

Therefore, reducing the catch by 50% at least for Japan, may make sense for those that need to keep the price of fish at the current levels. It also makes sense ecologically and may help to balance the oceans' biosphere.

But economically, if Japan were to sell the fish to lets say the two Korea's and to China and other Asian nations, it may help Japan keep its fishing industry alive and healthy.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I stopped eating tuna well over 5yrs ago, while this move is better late than never IT IS pretty frickin late!

Japan needs a serious schooling in conservation of so many marine resources!

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Tokyo—the world’s biggest consumer of tuna

Tokyo? Should that be 'Japan'? It almost seems as if they are proud of this fact.

This is a great move, but consumers should expect a double price increase of tuna.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Sure would NOT be eating any tuna! It's hard to conceive in the 21 century JAPAN is butchering dolphins alive at that hell cove in Taiji! The world watches in horror!!!!!! Please do the honorable thing and stop this now! Dolphin meat is loaded with high levels of mercury!

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

meanwhile, China plans on catching 50% more young tuna.........

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Good news.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well, they have to improve DNA recording before they got extinct, then we will be able to make artificial tuna at will and keep the natural species intact.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

And now the price of tuna will go up up up. :(

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The price increase will only affect the bluefin tuna prices, other types of tuna should not be affected. The types that end up as canned tuna in store across the globe.

My local sushi shop stopped serving bluefin 3 years ago and now serves yellowfin instead.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Bluefin tuna will be essentially exstinct in a decade, mark my words. 96% stock depletion with Japan eating 75% of the world's catch per annum means that this proposal (if even past) will be a mere drop in the bucket.

In Canada in the 90's saw the northern cod fish stocks fall to 1% of previous highs and the government did what was necessary: a complete moratorium. Due to these drastic measures, the stocks are slowly recovering; in some areas as much as 50%. But Japan seems unwilling to do what it takes to preserve what is a major part of their food culture.

One way of another, Japanese will stop putting maguro on their plates.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Make that kuromaguro on their plates, not sure if the 75% is still true with sushi have been spread now across the globe and increasing demand for bluefin and yellowfin as they are the ones used mostly for sushi/sashimi.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

too late... nature has a habit of not cooperating with human schedules. I expect it'll unfortunately collapse regardless of these measures. I"m remembering the same mentality that lead up to the Canadian Cod Moratorium before it was a fait du accompli .

Japan needs to start an awareness program showing other forms of protein and the concept of vegetarian food production. While it doesn't mean the end of fish it does mean that other options need to be acceptable.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Behind this move are incoming reports of record declines in the wild Japan salmon catch this season.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Sad to read this article as the Pacific Ocean Bluefin Tuna are on the brink of extinction. This response is an utterly pathetic solution being proffered by the Japanese Fishing Industry. Not only that it's too little, way too late.

" ... still not enough because bluefin tuna could make the list of endangered species any time." Greenpeace Japan - Wakao Hanaoka - an expert in marine ecology

The context of the Hanaoka comment is how fish breed and he would have elaborated how this needs urgent discussion.

Because it is the large tuna that are the breeding stock for the species. Fish sexually mature at 8 to 10 years old, weighing over 100 kg. As an example the wild Southern Blue Tuna grow up to 260 kg and can be 20–40 yrs of age.

There is no mention of saving the mature fish in this statement, so the line of logic is flawed and just a public relations exercise for the unaware Japanese public.

Because taking the small tuna out of the ecosystem is not the problem. Saving the large mature tuna will never happen as the older large mature fish are prized for their size.

These mature breeders are the very fish that need to be be protected as the 50% of smaller fish will soon be gone.

With less breeders there are less young fish and the cycle of depletion will continue until extinction.

Make no mistake, it will be the Japanese fishing industry that depletes the last breeding stock of wild tuna due to antiquated management and pure greed.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The shift in Japan’s policy confirms the total success and maturity of baby tuna nursery technology. Hat off to those involved in the development of the technology.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

One of our favorite TV shows here is Wicked Tuna on NGO. They fetch between $15 to $25 per lb of Blue Fin. I can see that going up.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

tmtmsnb: "The shift in Japan’s policy confirms the total success and maturity of baby tuna nursery technology."

It most certainly does not. There have been some successes in tuna farming, and a few holdbacks as well, but they could never produce tuna on the level needed to sate the greed of the nation when it comes to tuna.

Spanki: "meanwhile, China plans on catching 50% more young tuna........."

Because while they will perhaps limit the amount of a catch by Japanese fishers, they have not said anything about decreasing imports of the endangered fish, and they WILL import it to meet sushi needs. Hence my original comment. Are they going to avoid importing from fisheries that continue to catch the fish elsewhere, given that 87% or so of the tuna is consumed in Japan?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It seems Japan has seen the light to show some restraint and actually respond to wolrd experts when it comes to the tuna fishery but still chooses to ignore all expert and world opinion and even legal ruling when it comns to whaling and dolphin slaughters like that in Taiji. When will we see some consistency from this country. All of a sudden Tekka maki may disappear so now they react? It is about the health of the oceans, NOT the health of the bluefin industry because each creature from tiny goby to giant whale plays a role in the eco-system. Not that the ocean has been repeatedly raped, safeguarding the at-risk species is important. You're deacdes too late to cure your deafness and stubborn attitude. This is a step in the right direction, but at a time when you have almost walked over the cliff.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Putting things back into perspective here.

We must remember that actual reporting and accuracy of keeping data on catch and consumption is also a problem. While Japan does consume a great portion of the world's catch and have good tracking and record keeping, not all catch is tracked and recorded by all fishing vessels throughout the world.

Also, with new and better aquaculture techniques, the consumption is slowly being replaced by cultured fishes with much activity in the Mediterranean where they already produce thousands of tons to send to Japan and other countries.

That being said, fishing is an industry that support the livelihood of thousands of people from the fisherman to the sushi chef. It is not just to accommodate the scientists. It took many years before the aquaculture industry became a factor in balancing consumption and along with that the needed changes in the fishing industry adjusting to the reduced need for fishing for natural tuna.

Therefore, this is a realistic approach to balance the needs and meet the concerns that I am sure everyone sensible and sensitive enough to life on earth were already aware and have been considering.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@kazetsukai: A lot of the reason for tuna populations crashing in the Mediterranean is tuna farms. The farms need to be stocked with wild young tuna that are then fattened up. This decimates the young tuna populations in the area.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

July 16 2014. Toyota Tsusho Corporation and Kinki University signed a memorandom of understanding--jointly producing ''Complete Cultured Bluefin Tuna''--from hatchings to adult tuna production--starting March 2015. Target: 300,000 fish/year in the year 2020--a half of Japan's domestic need. Business plan: Facility details 6 50-ton tanks, land, office building 16 50-ton tanks Nursery output (Prep); Production: 2016/3---40,000 fish; 2017/3---60,000 fish; 2018/3---200,000 fish; 2019/3---250,000 fish; 2020/3---300,000 fish.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@kazetsukai: A lot of the reason for tuna populations crashing in the Mediterranean is tuna farms.

I read that it was the corporate fishing that did in the Mediterranean tuna.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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