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Atlantic tuna deal drawing mixed reactions in Japan

  • November 26, 2017
  • , The Japan News , 11:56 p.m.
  • English Press

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — An international panel’s decision to lift the ceiling on bluefin tuna catches in the eastern Atlantic Ocean has drawn mixed reactions in Japan, with wholesalers welcoming the prospect of activated trading and tuna farmers concerned over fiercer competition.


At an annual meeting in Morocco through Tuesday, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas decided to raise the ceiling of the catches by 50 percent or more from the current level by 2020. Japan’s quota will increase from 1,900 tons in 2017 to 2,800 tons in 2020.


“Atlantic tuna is rising in popularity as a substitute for large tuna, including from the Tsugaru Strait” in northeastern Japan, whose catches have recently been on the fall, said an official of a wholesale company in business at the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo’s Chuo Ward. “It’s encouraging that the quota will be boosted,” the official said.


Another tuna wholesaler at Tsukiji said, “As Japan’s catch quota is also set to be raised for southern bluefin tuna, another kind of high-grade tuna, we expect that fatty tuna trading will become active.”


Possible falls in tuna prices after larger hauls will likely stimulate an increase of orders from mass retailers, the wholesaler said.


Meanwhile, tuna farmers are wary of the possibility of tuna from the Mediterranean Sea, which once dominated the Japanese market, regaining strength. The ICCAT program covers Mediterranean tuna.


A senior official at the tuna farming division of a major fishery company explained that shipments of Japanese tuna, including fish from full-cycle farming, are planned to be boosted across the industry from next year.


With the lifting of the Atlantic tuna catch quota, “we’ll inevitably have an oversupply if nothing is done,” the official said, voicing concern that tuna prices may collapse due to increased competition.

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