Government modifies fishing regulations due to crisis and overfishing

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Tuesday, 01 September 2020 10:06

JAPAN: To prevent the fish resources from being

depleted due to overfishing, the Fisheries Agency announced on the 27th that it will set a new fishing regulation for more than 10 species. Yellowtail and red sea bream are listed as candidates. The aim is to make effective use of fishery resources in the medium to long term. However, there is a possibility that fishermen will be forced to reduce their revenue in the short term due to the expansion of regulated items, and it is expected that there will be a backlash.

The revised Fisheries Law, which focuses on strengthening resource management, will be included in the process chart established by the Fisheries Agency before it comes into force in December. In addition to yellowtail and red sea bream, there are a total of 15 candidates including anchovy, flounder, and tiger puffer. Select the fish species while listening to the opinions of the fishermen.

Traditional management methods have prioritized stopping the loss of resources. In the future, we will switch to a method of increasing the number of breeding parent fish in the long term while securing a certain catch. Due to the large amount of data on catches and resources, the policy is to gradually regulate the regulations from next year. 

Currently, eight fish species such as saury and bluefin tuna are subject to catch regulations. It corresponds to 60% on a catch basis, but the policy is to increase the target fish species to 80% early. 

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Japan's total seafood production (including aquaculture) peaked at 12.81 million tons in 1984, and has continued to decline, with only 4.16 million tons in 2019. This is due to changes in the marine environment such as rising seawater temperatures. By strengthening resource management, we hope to recover the catch excluding aquaculture in 2014 to approximately 4.4 million tons, which is the same level as in 2008.

Professor Isao Sakaguchi of Gakushuin University, who is familiar with fishery resource management, said, “There is concern about the collapse of fishing villages due to a lack of successors and a decline in landings. People also benefit." 

  catch regulated candidate fish species 

Anchovy, yellowtail, etrumeus sadina, Pacific cod, flatfish, Atka mackerel, Spanish mackerel, sea bream, flounder, puffer, alfonsino, round scad, sand lance, Benizuwaigani, Nigisu 

  fish species fishing regulations have been introduced 

Mackerel, sesame mackerel, horse mackerel, sardine, saury, bluefin tuna, walleye pollack, squid, snow crab.


  • Japan is one of the world's largest consumers of marine products. It is the largest fish-eating nation in the world, consuming 7.5 billion tons of fish a year, or about 10 percent of the world's catch. This is the equivalent of 30 kilograms a year per person. Their nearest rivals the Scandinavians consume only around 15 kilograms per person. The Japanese consume so much fish that Japan has traditionally controlled the world prices for seafood with it huge demand.
  • Japan is home to a $14 billion commercial fishing industry. Fish and a variety of other sea creatures are caught by local fishermen, imported and raised in aqua farms. There are around 200,000 fishing vessels in Japan. Of these about 2,000 fish for tuna and skipjack.
  • Sixty-six percent of the fish consumed in Japan is domestically caught. Even so Japan relies on imports for about half of its annual consumption of seafood, about 7.2 million tons.
  • Japan and China are the largest fishing nations. By some measures China has surpassed Japan in recent years but most of the fish that the Chinese consume are freshwater fish raised in fish farms. The Japanese eat mostly sea fish.
  • By other measures Japan is still the largest fishing nation. According to a National Geographic survey the largest harvesters of fish (metric tons) were: 1) Japan (7.5 million); 2) China (7 million); 3) Peru (6.7 million); 4) Chile (6.5 million); 5) Russia (5.2 million); 6) the U.S. (5 million).
  • The number of fishmongers in Tokyo declined 53 percent to 1,130 between 1980 and 2000.
  • Japan has become increasingly reliant on imported fish as fish stocks in its territorial waters have declined and the price of imported fish had dropped making it an attractive alternative to locally caught fish.

Source: FIS

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