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Fisheries

Japan to halve bluefin tuna catch

Japanese media say the nation's fisheries agency has decided to boost protection for juvenile bluefin tuna by halving Japan's northern Pacific catch. Studies show a dramatic decline in tuna prized by eaters of sushi.

The Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun said Sunday that Japan's Fisheries Agency had decided from next year to drastically reduce catches of juvenile bluefin tuna in the northern Pacific.

Yomiuri said Japan had concluded that cuts agreed internationally last year were insufficient. Japan was encouraging other nations to also adopt bigger cuts, said the news agency Kyodo.

Late last year, moderate catch limits were agreed by nations whose boats fish the Pacific but conservation experts said these were insufficient to halt overfishing.

Another sushi favorite, bigeye tuna, has also come under pressure.

Distant boats also pursue tuna

Last year, a record 2.65 million tons of tuna was hauled from the Pacific, amounting to 60 percent of the global catch.

Most of the Pacific catch was taken by so-called "distant water" fleets from as far afield as Europe.

Calls also mounted for restraint in the East Atlantic and the Mediterranean, where respective hauls were put last year at 13,400 and 1,750 tons.

Twenty-five entities are members of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), ranging from the European Union to the small Pacific island of Niue.

ipj/xx (AFP, AP)

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