Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Gigantic snails are a delicacy in Ivory Coast

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Hollande and Valls tell Trump, 'France is still France!'

Read more

THE DEBATE

It's all about Trump: how effective will the Democratic Party campaign be?

Read more

FOCUS

Indian women on frontline of battle against alcohol

Read more

FRENCH CONNECTIONS

35 hours: Are French workers lazy?

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Race to the White House: Hillary Clinton's popularity problem

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

HRW chief Kenneth Roth: 'Putin cares about European public opinion'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Facebook profits soar 186% as user numbers surge

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Turkey: 'Once upon a time, there was a democracy'

Read more

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

FOCUS

FOCUS

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

2016-07-28 India

Indian women on frontline of battle against alcohol

Alcohol consumption in India claims a life every 96 minutes. As alcohol-related violence also continues to rise, women are at the forefront of a war against alcohol in the...

Read more

2016-07-27 guns

Europe struggles to crack down on weapons trafficking

After a series of terrorist attacks in Europe, people are urging their governments to find ways to protect them. One of the major concerns is the number of illegal weapons...

Read more

2016-07-26 immigration

Video: Inside a migrant hotspot in southern Italy

Several small towns in Italy have been identified by the authorities as so-called migrant hotspots, where the identities of migrants are recorded into the European database....

Read more

2016-07-25 Canada

Canada: Religious sponsorship of refugees creates controversy

Within just a few months, Canada has taken in 25,000 Syrian refugees. A private sponsorship system means that around 10,000 of them are sponsored by individuals and refugee...

Read more

2016-07-22 Pakistan

Women doctors in Pakistan challenge the status quo

While the majority of medical students in Pakistan are women, the workforce is largely made up of men, leading to an overall shortage of doctors in the country. The reason is...

Read more