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Time running out to save tuna stocks: campaigners

13 Comments

Time is running out to save some species of tuna from overfishing, environmental groups warned Monday, calling for Japan to take the lead in reducing the global catch.

Industrial-scale fishing that takes large amounts of young tuna from the ocean before they are old enough to breed is destroying the population of a fish highly-prized in Japan's sushi restaurants, campaigners said.

"Time is running out to rescue Pacific bigeye tuna stock and (we urge) fishing nations to jointly reduce catches before it's too late," Greenpeace said in a statement released at a press conference in Tokyo with the World Wide Fund for Nature and environmental research group the Pew Charitable Trusts.

The call came as Japan readies to host a four-day meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) from Tuesday to discuss measures aimed at curbing the catch of the giant fish.

Campaigners want the 25-member body, which includes Japan, China, the European Union and United States, to agree to reduce the take of Pacific bigeye tuna, because they say it is "experiencing overfishing and in need of urgent management action".

In particular, they are calling for strict rules on the use of so-called fish-aggregation devices (FADs), which are made of buoys tethered to the ocean floor.

They can attract huge numbers of fish, allowing boats to haul them in quickly, rather than spending time and fuel searching for schools of tuna.

Critics say fishing with FADs means juvenile fish are snared, along with a bycatch that includes threatened species of shark, ray and sea turtles.

According to the groups, the catch of bigeye tuna actually rose by two percent to 161,679 tonnes in 2012, instead of falling by 30 percent, as the WCPFC had previously agreed.

"Current management is failing," they said in a statement.

The groups called on Japan -- the world's biggest consumer of tuna -- to take the lead in adopting effective measures at the upcoming meeting.

"We hope Japan will take the initiative so that future resources of bigeye and yellowfin tuna can be preserved," said WWF researcher Aiko Yamauchi.

The WCPFC was formed in 2004 based on a UN treaty to conserve and manage tuna and other highly migratory fish stocks across the western and central areas of the Pacific.

© (C) 2013 AFP

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

13 Comments
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What's really needed is more consumer education--as long as the Japanese think it's fine to eat whatever they want (bluefin tuna, eel, shark fin soup) and remain ignorant of the consequences, there'll be no real pressure on the restaurant industry or its suppliers to change until it's too late. Harness the same media and peer pressure that gets people recycling so assiduously, and this can change. Sometimes I think people here just have a kind of willful blind spot when it comes to seafood...

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Eating maguro into extinction isn't a cultural right. Enjoy salmon while stocks recover.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Sadly, either the Tuna will be depleted, or the population will, from eating contaminated Tuna.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

We Japanese pretend eating maguro all the time is some culture thing, but only since 1980s - not so long time. Maguro is luxury food. Please don't eat for five years, then is enough for everybody.

So greedy, so stupid. Soon no maguro, is too sad for everyone.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

it's the cheap kaitenzushi restaurants that are to blame for this. sushi was once a delicacy that could only be had once a month or every other month. now people can go weekly because it's so cheap.

@stephen knight

i totally agree, but i wonder if j-people are willfully turning a blind eye or their just isn't enough info about this being reported? i told my japanese wife about this and she was surprised to hear it.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

What's really needed is more consumer education-

Education. And start with the head. Government should have started 10 years ago to order everybody, from fishers to consumers, passing by restaurants and shop, to reduce tuna consumption to 20% of what it is.

The groups called on Japan—the world’s biggest consumer of tuna—to take the lead in adopting effective measures at the upcoming meeting.

That's a lost cause.

i wonder if j-people are willfully turning a blind eye or their just isn't enough info about this being reported?

When they know, they simply don't care. Like for whale. They consider the Japanese have the right to destroy the environment to get their sushi.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Same ole story with tuna, eel, large shrimp squid octopus etc etc Japanese just overeat so much of the oceans resources & it barely registers on their radar.

It was sickening listening to all the fools whining on about eels the last few years to present, Japan has been importing eel elvers for years now DUH because they couldn't catch their because DUH they over exploited local resources.

This gets repeated over & over again with many species

I had some friends who were going to Vancouver so I showed them some youtube vids on Vancouver & told them about eating crab, watched a video of a trap that caught 5-6 crabs, when I told them that 5 of the 6 were female crabs with eggs so HAD to be released they just COULD NOT understand why such conservation measures existed, they just mumbled over & over about how the eggs would be very oishi!!

Most Japanese just seem incapable of understanding conservation concepts for the most part!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I fear conservation efforts might cause a stampede to enjoy tuna 'while we still can.'

Perhaps education on the levels of mercury found in this voracious predator (if anyone would broadcast it)?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I fear conservation efforts might cause a stampede to enjoy tuna 'while we still can.'

If that reduces the number of tuna eaters, that's perfect. Seriously, if that's not proposed on sale, they can't buy it. That would be very easy to make sale quotas for all species needing protection (at this point most), then less would be fished or imported. Maybe they would rethink the way they sell fish and waste so much.

Most Japanese just seem incapable of understanding conservation concepts for the most part!

I explain well and they understand perfectly. They even ask for confirmation : "So within a few years tako and maguro will become as rare and expensive as Japanese unagi ?... oh you mean, all seafood in general will ?... ah taihen desune... and that's the fault of the Japanese, that's true.". Will they do something ? "Me ? No, that's useless if it's only me that does it... it's shoganai.". That's the huge majority. Some even have the guts to lecture me : "I can see you have bad feelings against Japanese people as we are causing this. It's true we do, but that's not foreigners' business, so shut it up. -The seafood is becoming rare for foreigners too and not by their fault. -But we will suffer the most of it. Foreigners can live with less seafood, it's your culture, but yabai Japanese love fish and they will be very unhappy.". I have stopped discussing it as I'm tired of it. It's the same mentality as Fukushima. Look, today an article saying we have to help poor Tepco.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@ Cos Love that description of that kind of discussion. Japan in a nutshell!

@Stephen Knight 'assiduous recycling' - LOL - an obsession to the point of being a mental disorder, like indoor vs outdoor shoes.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

calling for Japan to take the lead in reducing the global catch.

Motto: Eat first, think later.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This is humanology in the making!

Mahatma Gandhi once said "There is always enough for human needs but never enough for one man's greed"

"Animal will kill for the day but human will kill for century!"

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Joel Lim, may I add,

"Hungry animal will hunt for only the day but greedy human will destroy a generation!"

Well, Japanese needs to catch those big-eyed tunas for scientific research only!

Human greatest philosophy "Nothing will be done even when nothing is served on the dining plate".

3 ( +3 / -0 )

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