Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Dotard: an educational insult

Read more

#TECH 24

Medtech: Repairing the human body

Read more

ENCORE!

Jennifer Lawrence on why she's unafraid to speak out

Read more

#THE 51%

Hola "Ellas Hoy" - The 51 Percent welcomes its sister show on FRANCE 24 Spanish

Read more

YOU ARE HERE

A stroll through the Corsican city of Calvi, jewel of the Mediterranean

Read more

REPORTERS

The torment of Christians living in Syria’s Khabur valley

Read more

FOCUS

'Generation Merkel' yearns for continuity and stability

Read more

DOWN TO EARTH

Amazon rainforest pays heavy price for Brazil's political crisis

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Presidential election re-run pushed back to October 26th

Read more

FOCUS

Our Focus programme brings you exclusive reports from around the world. From Monday to Friday at 7.45 am Paris time.

Latest update : 2009-11-24

Could fishing quotas save dwindling tuna stocks?

Members of the International Convention for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna have voted to lower the tuna quota to 13,500 tonnes for next year. For the Japanese, who consume 80% of the world's tuna, the cuts are excessive.

It's the crack of dawn at Tokyo's Tsukiji market - everyday bluefin tuna is auctioned off here at massive volumes. 80% of the bluefin tuna caught in the Atlantic and Mediterranean oceans is flown to Japan. Much of it ends up in Japan’s sushi restaurants.
 
It will come as no surprise that chefs are unhappy with the newly tightened fishing quotas. “It’s the same with whale quotas. Restrictions are targeted at Japan”, a chef tells FRANCE 24. “They say it is to protect the species but we saw that whales are reproducing. The restrictions are politically motivated. “
 
Here in Japan, environmental concerns are secondary to diners' passion for raw bluefin tuna - which has not abated, despite warnings that the fish may become extinct if consumption continues at the current rate. “I am currently eating tuna and I am not wondering whether the species will go extinct. What matters is whether the tuna is good and whether it is expensive or not”, one customer explains to FRANCE 24.
 
So far, tuna remains relatively inexpensive. Reduced quotas are not expected to push up prices immediately - since Japan keeps nearly 25-thousand tonnes of bluefin tuna in frozen storage. That's twice the total quantity expected to be caught in the entire Atlantic Ocean this year. This is a significant problem, according to Wakao Hanaoka, who is in charge of the Oceans Campaign at Greenpeace. According to him, it is difficult for Japanese consumers to comprehend that bluefin tuna is in danger of extinction as there is plenty of tuna in the supermarket and it is reasonably priced, furthermore, bluefin tuna in readily available in all of the country’s sushi restaurants.
 
Environmental groups point the finger at Japan's powerful fishing lobby, who they say disproportionately influence the government. Japanese authorities reject this accusation, and say they are satisfied with the compromise reached in Brazil. Masanori Miyahara, Japan’s commissioner to the ICCAT believes that the agreement reached adheres to scientific advice.
 
The last thing Japanese authorities want is a ban on tuna from the Atlantic Ocean: this would slash the volume of bluefin tuna coming into Japan by half.

By Nathalie TOURRET

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2017-09-22 Germany

'Generation Merkel' yearns for continuity and stability

It's common for young people to vote against the status quo in elections. But that's not the case in Germany. The so-called "Merkel Generation" have only known one German...

Read more

2017-09-21 Burma

Rohingya crisis: Monks with an ultranationalist agenda

During Burma's half a century of military dictatorship, the country's Buddhist monks became one of the main pillars of non-violent protest against the junta. But in the last few...

Read more

2017-09-20 Asia-pacific

Are universities in Pakistan becoming a breeding ground for terrorism?

In recent years in Pakistan, a growing number of students from prestigious institutions have taken part in terrorist attacks. Unlike students from madrassas, which are under...

Read more

2017-09-19 Americas

Rio mired in economic crisis a year after hosting Olympics

A state of "financial calamity" was declared in Rio de Janeiro just before it hosted the August 2016 Olympic Games. Salaries for public servants went unpaid and funding was...

Read more

2017-09-18 Asia-pacific

Rohingyas crowd into makeshift camps in Bangladesh after fleeing Burma

On the border between Burma and Bangladesh, the exodus of Rohingya people continues. In less than a month, more than 400,000 of them have crossed the border into neighbouring...

Read more