Bluefin tuna. (Photo: Stock File)
Government to enforce penal regulations on bluefin tuna catches
Wednesday, January 03, 2018, 22:10 (GMT + 9)
The Japan Fishing Agency will start enforcing penal regulations on Pacific bluefin tuna caught by Japanese fishermen in January, in line with stricter international controls aimed at overfishing.
The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) allocates catch quotas to its members, including Japan and the United States.
However, In Japan fishermen have caught more than permitted in many areas, and this is a situation which raises doubts about the effectiveness of current regulations in preventing overfishing.
Under the new penal regulations, fishermen will be required to submit periodic reports on details of their hauls and the agency will be authorized to order fishermen to suspend operations if their catches are likely to outstrip the limits, reports Jiji Press.
Violators will face a prison term of up to three years or a fine not exceeding JPY 2 million (USD 17.800). The current regulations have no penalty provision.
The new penal regulations will start in January 2018 for round haul net fishing, which are used by midsize and large ships, and in July for coastal fishing, including fixed net fishing.
Japanese fisheries industry people are concerned that the United States and the European Union may call for a further tightening of international regulations if resources fail to recover strongly.
The WCPFC aims to increase Pacific bluefin tuna resources to about 41,000 tons by 2024 and around 130,000 tons by 2034.
Japanese Fishing authorities hope to gain a larger catch quota by contributing to an early recovery of resources.