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South Korea is Urged to Curb Bluefin Tuna Catches

Tuna Sustainability Politics +4 more

SOUTH KOREA - The Fisheries Agency has asked South Korea to curtail bluefin tuna catches in light of a surge in imports from that country, as Japan is concerned fishermen there are not following internationally agreed curbs, sources said.

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Japan may face criticism that South Korea catches too many tuna for export to Japan, the customer for around 90 per cent of South Korean tuna exports, the sources said Monday, JapanTimes reports.

The government has also asked Japanese distributors and wholesalers to refrain from buying tuna from South Korea by reminding them that if the imports keep rising, fishermen there will only increase their catches, the sources said.

Tokyo's request to Seoul was conveyed through diplomatic channels on July 13.

Last year saw 522 tons of bluefin tuna imported from South Korea, but this year as of Friday, imports had already swelled to 1,341 tons, according to the agency.

Of the imported tuna, 97 per cent were young, weighing less than 30 kg each. It is believed catching large quantities of fish this size will lead to the depletion of their stock.

At a meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission in 2010, member economies except South Korea agreed to keep catches of young bluefin aged up to three years old below the 2002-2004 levels.

South Korea, which opposed the cut, has been given an exception and allowed to keep its catches at their 2002-2004 levels.