Japan to tighten control over tuna fishing
Japan will tighten control over the fishing of southern bluefin tuna, after an investigation found that the country exceeded its annual quota last year.india Updated: Mar 02, 2006 15:02 IST
Japan will tighten control over the fishing of southern bluefin tuna, after an investigation found that the country exceeded its annual quota last year by at least 1,500 tons, an official said on Thursday.
The Fisheries Agency launched an investigation in December after Australia raised suspicion that Japan, which consumes 99 percent of the world catch of southern bluefin tuna, may have caught more than the 6,065 tons allowed in fiscal 2005.
The Australia-based Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna sets annual fishing quotas for bluefin in an effort to conserve the fish.
Japan caught 1,500 tons more than its annual share last year, and the figure is expected to rise.
While fishermen were required to report their catch to the agency, inspections by officials had been sporadic, and they failed to inspect those who claimed they had no catch at all.
So fishermen will be required from April onwards, to put a tag on each tuna fish they catch and officials will inspect every fishing boat that returns to any of the designated ports in Japan.
Violators, including fishermen as well as buyers and processors of tuna, will face a fine of up to 500,000 yen or up to two years in prison.
Southern bluefin tuna can fetch a price twice as much as the more widely consumed bigeye tuna.