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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 June 20 - 26  > Coastal fishermen protest against unfair bluefin tuna caps
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2018 June 20 - 26 [ECONOMY]

Coastal fishermen protest against unfair bluefin tuna caps

June 26, 2018

Holding colorful big-catch flags, costal fishermen from across Japan on June 25 gathered in front of the Fisheries Ministry office building in protest against the ministry’s preferential treatment for large-scale fishing operators regarding TAC limits on Pacific bluefin tuna.

The Fisheries Agency of the Fisheries Ministry plans to introduce a cap on Pacific bluefin harvests in July based on the total allowable catch (TAC) system. The purpose of the TAC system is to conserve and protect maritime resources. Under the system, the Fisheries Minister sets the maximum annual fishing limit for each fish species. The planned TAC caps will be about 4,500 tons for this season’s large- and medium-scale purse seine fishing and 2,000 tons for coastal fishing throughout Japan.

The day’s event was co-hosted by the organizing committee and a nationwide association for coastal fishing operators.

The association representative, Suzuki Masao, on behalf of the organizers delivered a speech and said, “The management of fishery resources is important. Yet, it is necessary for the Fisheries Ministry to take into account the impact of the TAC system on small-scale tuna-fishing operators.”

After the rally, a fishermen’s delegation held negotiations with the Fisheries Agency and submitted a written demand to Fisheries Minister Saito Ken.

In the document, coastal fishermen demanded that the implementation of the TAC cap for this season’s bluefin tuna fishing be delayed and that coastal fisheries’ catch quotas be increased to protect the small-scale tuna fishermen. They also requested the ministry to take some measures to compensate for suspension of tuna fishing stemming from the introduction of TAC limits.

In the negotiations, a fishermen’s union chief from Aomori’s Oma Town, Japan’s most famous tuna town, said, “Recently, the town’s tuna fishery industry has attracted young people to work in the industry. The ministry should withdraw limitations which would force young tuna fishermen out of business.” A Chiba fisherman said, “An international treaty that supports the setting of TAC limits calls for paying necessary attention to coastal fisheries.”

Lawmakers of the Japanese Communist Party, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, and the Democratic Party for the People accompanied the fishermen’s delegation.
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