JAPAN: Conservation organisation Pew Charitable Trust expresses its concern about the fact that despite exceeding its fishing limit for Pacific bluefin earlier this month, Japan's Fishing Authority has decided to raise the quota for fishermen in 14 prefectures.
As it was informed in Japan Times, the Fisheries Agency has given these prefectures an additional quota of 122.2 tons for small specimens of the species catches in total.
Total Pacific bluefin tuna juvenile capture -- fish weighing less than 30 kg -- exceeded the 4,007 tonnes at the end of last month, which had been set for the season finishing in June.
Now it has been clarified that in return for the boosted quota, these 14 prefectures -- Hokkaido, Aomori, Miyagi, Tokio, Niigata, Toyama, Ishikawa, Fukui, Kyoto, Hyogo, Tottori, Shimane, Saga and Nagasaki -- will see their catch limits lowered in the next season that starts in July.
“For Japan to raise the amount of fish that their fishermen can catch now, when the population is already depleted by more than 97 per cent, is extremely concerning and is in direct conflict with Japan’s international obligation to help the species recover,” warns Amanda Nickson, who directs Pew’s global tuna conservation campaign.
The campaigner stressed that as the number one fishing nation and consumer of the species, Japan should be taking a leadership role in conservation.
“This is a disappointing step backwards, and further shows that if countries continue to fail to act to protect the species, a two-year commercial fishing moratorium is immediately needed to end this destructive overfishing,” Nickson states.
The NGO stressed that Japan must work at the international level on the conservation of this species, which is jointly managed by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) and the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC).
Pew points out that it is critical that at their joint meeting in August, they decide on precautionary, science-based management for Pacific bluefin.
These environmentalists warn that to date, there has been little progress and overfishing continues unabated. Therefore, they insist that if science-based, precautionary sufficient catch limits are not put in place to help rebuild the species, its commercial fishing activity should be cancelled for two years.
Source : FIS