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Fisheries Agency Cites 610K Captured Tuna in 2013

April 3, 2014

The Fisheries Agency released March 31 a summary of business records of bluefin tuna farmers in Japan for the year of 2013. According to the summary report, the number of businesses that ran bluefin aquaculture was 92, an increase of nine businesses from 83 in 2012 and 2011. The quantity of farm sites was 147, seven more than 140 in 2012 and ten more than 137 in 2011.

The report however states that “The increase in the number of aquaculture sites is attributable to the fact that we separated the places using artificial seedlings from existing establishments that use wild seedlings; and therefore the number does not indicate the gain in the number of captured wild seedlings.”

The amount of bluefin seedlings captured in 2013 came to 611,000, a hike of 137,000 compared with 474,000 in 2012. The 2013 figure is nevertheless 142,000 less than 753,00 registered in 2011. The change in the number of seedlings appeared to reflect the fluctuation in wild seedling fishing.

In line with the direction by the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries made on October 26, 2012, the Fisheries Agency would allow 30 farmers to capture artificial seedlings upon license renewal (as of late December 2013). Others were given the maximum number of fish preserves for capturing wild seedlings. The total number of fish preserves for farming was 1,032 in Japan, of which 469 were set up in Nagasaki Prefecture and 163 in Kagoshima Prefecture.

Considering the fact that Japan was the largest fisher and consumer of Pacific bluefin tuna, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries keeps precise records of bluefin aquaculture activities in Japan based on “Pacific Bluefin Tuna Management Reinforcement,” which lays out fundamental principles of managing Pacific bluefin tuna. Data collected from bluefin farmers in Japan, which began in 2011, is cataloged based on each calendar year, which is then announced at this time of each year.

The fundamental rules of bluefin farming are 1) Adding new farm sites is not allowed if doing so causes the number of captured wild seedlings to exceed the prefecture-based annual total recorded in 2011 and 2) The maximum limit or conditions will be given in relation to the quantity of fish preservers with the intention of captured wild seedlings not going beyond the prefecture-based annual total recorded in 2011.

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