Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Overfishing Undermining Japan's Own National Interests

We're catching up on emails and non-CITES related news from the last two weeks and missed this important Associated Press story from Japan, Japan's Bluefin Tuna Is Disappearing, But Few Chefs Fear Shortage.
TOKYO (AP) — It is the king of sushi, one of the most expensive fish in the world — and dwindling so rapidly that some fear it could vanish from restaurant menus within a generation.

Yet there is little alarm in Japan, the country that consumes about 80 percent of the world's bluefin tuna. Japanese fisheries experts blame cozy ties between regulators and fishermen and a complacent media for failing to raise public awareness.

"Nobody really knows the bad state bluefin tuna is in," veteran sushi chef Kazuo Nagayama said from his snug, top-end sushi bar in Tokyo's Shimbashi district, a popular area for after-work socializing. "I don't think it'll disappear, but we might not be able to catch any. It's obvious we need to set quotas."
Tuna fishing is linked to shark fishing and this story is worth a read. It also gives some insight into Japan's opposition to conservation measures for economically valuable marine species.

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