Japan proposes Pacific saury catch quota for Taiwan

Pacific sauri. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

TAIPEI, Jul 18, 2019, Taiwan News. Japan proposed setting fishing limits for Pacific saury (Cololabis saira) on all member countries of the North Pacific Fisheries Commission (NPFC), including Taiwan and China, on Tuesday (July 16), the Liberty Times reports, reported the Taiwan News.

The Fisheries Agency of Japan proposed a total catch quota of 450,000 tons of Pacific saury at the fifth annual commission of the NPFC. It hopes that member countries can reach a consensus to protect the species and maintain sustainable fisheries.

Taiwan caught approximately 178,000 tons of saury last year, the largest amount of any one country, according to the news agency. China has also been gradually increasing its saury catches in recent years to meet domestic demand, squeezing the remaining fishing resources for Japan, reports the news agency.

Also known as mackerel pike, or by its Japanese names samma or saira (秋刀魚), Pacific saury is commonly eaten in East Asia and far eastern Russia. The fish is a migratory species, which means that most hauls are caught by Taiwanese and Chinese fishermen in their countries’ exclusive economic zones before schools move northward to Japan and Russia.

NHK reports that the Japanese government regards Taiwanese and Chinese overfishing activities as the primary reason for the decrease in its domestic saury catches, and the proposal is believed to be mainly targeting the two countries. However, as the NPFC requires unanimous agreement to pass any proposal, it is likely that China will reject any quotas on the grounds of a lack of scientific proof, as it did in the past two commissions.

The NPFC is committed to the management of high seas fisheries in the region and includes eight member states: Canada, China, Japan, South Korea, Russia, Taiwan, the U.S., and Vanuatu. The fifth commission began in Tokyo on Tuesday (July 16) and concludes today.

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