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Japanese Expect Slight Increase In ICCAT Bluefin Quota

Japanese fishing industry officials are expecting that the annual ICCAT meeting will result in raised bluefin tuna catch quotas for member countries. Commencing today, the yearly meeting takes place in Cape Town, South Africa until November, 25.


A recommendation issued by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) scientific committee, last month, would allow for a small increase in the quota, one Japanese official said. Countries are expected to agree to raise the bluefin tuna catch quota in the eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean for 2014.

ICCAT is a Regional Fisheries Management Organization (RFMO) that is responsible for the management of tuna and tuna-like species in the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea.

Japan is a major market for Mediterranean and Atlantic bluefin tuna, with imports supplying a main ingredient for the country’s popular and lucrative sushi and sashimi market. 

This year, the ICCAT bluefin quota was raised by 500 tons on last years to 13,400 tons. This was the first time there had been an increase in 10 years. For 2014, further growth of 600 tons or more has been predicted for the outcome. The ICCAT bluefin quota totaled as much as 32,000 tons in 2006, from which the initial reduction plans begun.

The scientific committee is responsible for giving advice to the commission and it is due to an identified recovery in the bluefin stock that the rise is seen as likely to go ahead. Officials believe that the quota will continue increasing in the years to come.

While some countries have expressed that they wish the quota to remain unchanged to ensure even further recovery of the current stock levels, many member nations are pushing for an increase.

The ICCAT is hoping that stock levels of Mediterranean and Atlantic bluefin tuna will be fully restored by 2022. Last year, the scientific committee confirmed growth in the numbers of the species that has at times been in danger of extinction.