Japan Begins Enforcing Penal Consequences to Protect Tuna

Tokyo, Japan (January 01, 2018) — The New Year brings good news for the vulnerable bluefin tuna. Beginning this month, fishermen who violate Pacific bluefin catch quotas in Japan will face up to three years in prison or a fine of a maximum of ¥2 million. Overfishing brought about the recent collapse of spawning populations, and in response, the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission allocated quotas to members, including Japan and the United States. However fishermen in Japan and other nations have exceeded these quotas and often caught more than is permitted. Under the new penal regulations, fishermen must submit periodic haul reports, and Japan’s Fisheries Agency can authorize a suspension of operations if catches exceed quotas. The fishermen who violate this policy face steep consequences, though the Fisheries Agency says it has designed the penalties to allow fishermen to continue catching the prized fish used to make high-end sushi and sashimi.  Japan’s prior regulations have no penalty provision. Read more here.

Photo courtesy of the Monterey Bay Aquarium.