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Industry Told To Reduce Canned And Concentrate on Sashimi Japan, September 6, 13

New Zealand officials are urging Pacific nations to take advantage of the multi-billion dollar fishery that surrounds them. They say that the tuna industry’s focus should be on fresh sashimi to high paying Asian customers, and not on canned tuna.

The Pacific Ocean tuna fishery is worth a huge USD 6 billion per year, but only ten percent of profits go back to Pacific economies.

Murray McCully, NZ Foreign Affairs Minister said that the Pacific nations need to cash in on the greatest asset and fish for bigeye and bluefin tuna that is in high demand by the Japanese sashimi business.

However, skipjack tuna makes up more than half of the total tuna catch in the Pacific Ocean. Skipjack is processed in the canning industry, and does not have the required characteristics to be easily used in the sashimi market.

But McCully said: “One of the areas we’re trying to focus on is how we help Pacific countries to get up the value chain by moving to fresh sashimi products, rather than canned tuna.”

New Zealand has introduced some initiatives to aid the Pacific countries in managing their fisheries. Training colleges have been created and they have encouraged regulations that rule foreign tuna vessels to use local labor.

In the Solomon Islands, New Zealand is helping to seal transport routes in order to speed up the movement of tuna from a deep-water port. It also financed its international runway, helping to export fresh fish to Tokyo.