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Key Pacific panel agrees to 50% cut in young bluefin tuna catch

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Countries and regions that fish in the northern Pacific agreed Thursday to cut by half the number of young bluefin tuna they catch in a bid to double the ocean’s stock over 10 years.

But 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.

I applaud the effort, but if you connect the dots here, even if they reach their goal of "doubling the ocean's stock over 10 years", they will still only be at 8% of what the original levels were, sinc ethey are now at just 4%. Why did it take so long to address the problem?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Why did it take so long to address the problem?

because japan loves cheap sushi? the proliferation of kaitenzushi and tachigui sushi restaurants has dramatically increased the demand for tuna and other fish. japan is like an alcoholic when it comes to sushi, but now they need to seriously limit their intake or else there won't be any fish left to eat.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

But 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.

A classic example of robbing credit from where the credit is due.

The international organization is ISC, here. http://isc.ac.affrc.go.jp/

The reports are here. http://isc.ac.affrc.go.jp/reports/stock_assessments.html

The assessment of Pacific Bluefin Tuna is here. http://isc.ac.affrc.go.jp/pdf/Stock_assessment/PBF_2014_Exec_Summary_4-28-2014_gtd.pdf

You may want to read through the glossary here befor reading the report. http://www.ices.dk/community/Documents/Advice/Acronyms_and_terminology.pdf

Now, it is appearent that Japan is the major contributor of ISC, and that the reports are heavily dependent on the data and research efforts provided by Japan.

The stock statistics (spawning stock biomass) can be found on page 10 of this report. http://isc.ac.affrc.go.jp/pdf/Stock_assessment/PBF_2014_Exec_Summary_4-28-2014_gtd.pdf The number is declining but it did not decline as much as 96%. 96% can be found on page 13. The ratio is actual SSB devided by hypothetical SSB, had no tuna been caught by human being through the history of the earth. I think calling the hypothetical value "original level" is highly misleading.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Sadly, I fear this will only open a new market for illegal fishing as the population increases. It's a shame they had to wait until the populations were so decimated before they took any action. Some scientists believe the populations of tuna will never recover.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

It is entirely appropriate that Japan be at the pointy end of the train on this issue, her politicians should be bold and resolute, even to the extent of mandating higher tuna prices, a conservation tax to be levied on sashimi, and facilitating transfer of fish stock breeding know how to other countries. Much would be gained by issuing a new edict to the whaling fleet to henceforth study tuna and other endangered fish stocks.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Why did it take so long to address the problem?

It's funny, there's 70 comments on the whaling story and 5 on this one. There are loads of minke whales and they aren't endangered, but these fish have been over-fished severely.

Is it perhaps the case that attention has been mis-focused on the non-endangered whales rather than the over-fished tunas?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The demand for tuna, especially outside Japan, for sushi has grown due to the popularity of Japanese food has contributed to the depletion globally.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It is very very good to hear Japan is taking some action to conserve the Bluefish tuna. Thank you to all involved.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Agree with fxgai! Perhaps a reduction in tuna fishing can be offset up by an increase in minke whale meat...wow, that'll upset a few people, but isn't the issue about protecting vulnerable populations? I applaud this decision, being made before it is too late. If they can continue with the scheme for an extended amount of time, it would be better for all, but then, surely if there's a large increase in fish stocks, the price would plummet - so I can see fisheries wanting to increase the catch while the price is still high. It would also rely on bait fish/pilchards stocks as well, no point trying to save the tuna if you are catching the fish they need to eat in order to survive, as has happened in other parts of the world.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

How exactly do they plan on only catching mature Tuna? They just catch everything in a net and pull it all out at once right now. Everything dies. So this would logically mean fishermen will throw out the dead young tuna, and just have to catch more mature Tuna to meet their quota. This, I suspect, will likely do more harm than good.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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