China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan to Ground Tuna Fleet


Linda Salim, for SeafoodSource from Surabaya, Indonesia

Published on
June 30, 2008

Tuna boat owners' associations in China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan collectively grounded their fleets last week due to increasing gas prices.

The action was pioneered by Japan's tuna fishing union, which has cut down on its expeditions since late May.

The National Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Association in Japan reported that Type A gas sold for 37 cents a liter in 2003. It had increased to as much as 65 cents last year before hitting a whopping 99 cents last month. The global economic downturn couldn't absorb the increase, cutting into most of fishermen's profits.

Japan's Tuna and Bonito Fishermen's Union, which has grounded 40 boats, took an active role in persuading the neighboring countries' tuna fishermen to tie up their boats.

Out of some 1,200 longline tuna fishing boats worldwide, 90 percent are based in the four East Asian countries. The grounding is expected to increase the price of bigeye and yellowfin tuna price, which are consumed mostly raw or canned.

In Japan, the grounding of tuna boats from China, South Korea and Taiwan alone will cut its tuna supply in half.

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