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Bluefin tuna quota increased 52% in E. Atlantic, Med by 2020

  • November 22, 2017
  • , Kyodo News , 20:14
  • English Press

An international conservation commission has decided to increase the catch quota of bluefin tuna in the eastern Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea by 52 percent from the current level to 36,000 tons by 2020, Japan’s Fisheries Agency said Wednesday.


Along with the total quota increase, the allotment for Japan will also expand by 45 percent to 2,801 tons. The decision was made at the annual meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna or ICCAT in Morocco.


Estimates show a sign of improving stocks of the fish in the region, which has been threatened by overfishing. In 2015, about 40 percent of bluefin tuna sold in the Japanese market was comprised of catches from the region. The fisheries agency hopes that the increased national quota will bring down prices.


The total allowable catch will be raised by stages as ICCAT has set the quota for 2018 at 28,200 tons, up 19 percent from the current year. The allocation to Japan will be increased by 18 percent to 2,279 tons, marking four consecutive years of expansion.


Bluefin tuna in the region was once feared to be in danger of extinction but stocks have gradually recovered with the help of strict restrictions on fishing by ICCAT. Catching bluefin tuna weighing less than 30 kilograms in the region has been banned in principle since 2007.


Ahead of the week-long meeting, an ICCAT committee issued a report projecting the expansion of allowance.


On the other hand, the stocks in the Pacific Ocean, where around 60% of the bluefin tuna in the Japanese market come from, do not seem to be picking up despite similar restriction. The estimated number of parent fish in the region dropped to about 17,000 tons in 2014, about a 10th of the peak of 160,000 tons in 1961.


The conservation committee for the Pacific tuna is aiming to increase parent fish to 41,000 tons by 2024.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Japan represents almost 90 percent of the global trade in fresh and frozen bluefin tuna.

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