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Issue No:78
  • :January
  • :2018

Samudra Report No.78, January 2018




No More Tuna for Japan’s Sushi?

Japan is the world’s biggest consumer of tuna. Fishermen on the island of Iki are challenging official policy so as to stop the decline of Pacific bluefin tuna stocks.

Minoru Nakamura, a fisherman from Iki Island, recalled the biggest tuna he had ever caught, back in 2013. “It weighed 319 kilos. It was so big I couldn’t get it into the boat, and I had to lash it to the hull.” A fish this size being rare, it made the front page of the local newspaper. A photograph showed Nakamura next to his enormous catch, 2.7 meters long, hanging from a crane. He looked proud, but not ecstatic: Their precarious livelihood makes these independent fishermen humble. “I can go for ten weeks without catching anything ,” he said at the time; today that sounds like a prophecy. This remarkable fish was one of the last Pacific bluefin tuna over 300 kilos to be caught off Iki.

Nakamura and his colleagues have petitioned the Fisheries Agency, part of Japan’s agriculture, forestry, and fisheries ministry, several times. The agency maintains that falling catches are due to climate change. “They say the tuna have moved to the waters off Korea, where we’re not allowed to fish,” said...

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