Japan’s saury quota proposal shot down by China, NPFC
The Northern Pacific Fisheries Commission, which manages fishing in international waters of the North Pacific Ocean, decided at its 13 to 15 July meeting against a Japanese proposal to create a catch quota for Pacific saury.
Japan raised the issue of overfishing of Pacific saury, and proposed quotas for each country based on average catches over the last five years.
The eight members of the NPFC are Canada, China, Japan, South Korea, Russia, Taiwan, the United States of America, and Vanuatu. The overall quota would have been 560,000 metric tons. For the three main countries involved in this fishery – Japan, Taiwan, and China – the proposed quotas were 242,000 MT, 191,000 MT, and 47,000 MT, respectively.
Basing the quotas on the average catch over the previous five years heavily favors Japan, as Taiwan and China have been increasing their shares in that period. Taiwan’s catch surpassed Japan’s in 2013, and China has increased its catch 30-fold in the last four years. Though Taiwan supported the proposal, China strongly objected and the proposal failed to achieve the three-fourths majority required for adoption.
Foreign vessels catch saury in international waters northeast of Hokkaido. In recent years, warmer ocean temperatures have allowed saury to stay in these waters longer before continuing southwest into Japan’s exclusive economic zone. Japanese shore-based fishermen find it uneconomical in terms of fuel and time to motor out 200 miles to fish and usually wait until the schools come closer – by which time the saury populations are much reduced.