Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Is somthing a-brewing in Britain since Scottish referendum?

Read more

DEBATE

Strikes Over Syria

Read more

ENCORE!

30 years of Americana through Jean-Pierre Laffont's lens

Read more

FOCUS

A little bit of Africa in Paris

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Frenchman kidnapped in Algeria: 'IS'-linked jihadists claim abduction of 55-year-old tourist

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

EU budget deficits: Time to be more flexible?

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Sir Graham Watson, President of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe

Read more

#TECH 24

Anonymous ‘declare cyber war’ on IS militants

Read more

WEB NEWS

Cambodian garment workers demand minimum wage

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

2014-09-23 business

A little bit of Africa in Paris

We take you on a guided tour of Paris - but don't expect just another report on the French capital's iconic landmarks. We're showing you the city's cultural diversity, and today...

Read more

2014-09-22 Paris

Why do international students choose Paris?

After the US and UK, France is one of the most popular destinations for international students with thousands coming to the French capital every year. Our reporters talked to...

Read more

2014-09-19 Russia

Ukraine's 'volunteer' battalions: Under Kiev's control?

Ukraine is offering temporary self-rule to areas of its eastern Donbass region currently controlled by separatists. It’s part of a ceasefire deal, but one that was virtually...

Read more

2014-09-18 children

Cleaning up Thailand's shady surrogacy industry

In the absence of rules, surrogacy has become a thriving - and shady - business in Thailand. But things could be about to change as a series of highly publicised cases have...

Read more

2014-09-17 referendum

Scottish referendum: Should I stay or should I go?

This Wednesday is the final day of campaigning before people living in Scotland vote on whether or not to leave the United Kingdom. Our correspondents in Scotland have been to...

Read more