>
 
FishingBoating-World.com
 
 
News Home Newsletters Photo Gallery Powerboat-World Australian Cruising World Cruising MarineBusiness-World Animated Knots
Video Gallery MarineBusiness-World
Sail-World.com : Challenges in Japan’s Marine Fisheries.
Challenges in Japan’s Marine Fisheries.


'A chef poses with the head of the $1.76 million tuna auctioned off in Tokyo in January'    Kimimasa Mayama / EPA 2013)
For thousands of years, the sea has served Japan as a cultural and economic resource. The Japanese have made heavy use of the ocean surrounding their island nation, harvesting a host of marine organisms from sea cucumbers to whales.

However, in recent decades the ocean has become a resource at risk, with the onset of climate change, overfishing and other threats. While management plans have been adopted for several fish stocks, species such as the blue fin tuna face collapse. As of 2009, 42 of Japan’s 84 fish stocks were categorized as low by the country’s Ministry of Fishing, Forestry and Agriculture. (Statistical Handbook of Japan 2012).

While fisheries depletion is a global issue, it is especially relevant in Japan where seafood consumption is staggeringly high. 23% of the average Japanese person’s protein intake comes from the ocean, almost 3 times that of the average American. As a nation, Japan consumes 7.5 million tons of seafood annually (Balfour et. al 2011). Tokyo is home to the world’s largest fish market, where roughly 2300 tons of seafood is sold daily for an average profit of $15.5 million. The largest marine fisheries in Japan are tuna, bonito, sardines, Alaskan Pollock, crabs and squid (Statistical Handbook of Japan 2012).

The degree of depletion varies from species to species, but the fishing industry has seen a net decline in recruitment and profits in the past two decades. In 2011, the total catch was 3.8 million tons, considerably less than the 6 million tons caught in 1995. Financially, the industry has also suffered. Reported earnings were 1.5 trillion yen in 2011, down from 1.6 trillion in 2006 (Statistical Handbook of Japan 2012).

Overfishing is largely the cause of this decline. The increased use of powered trawlers and other gear innovations paired with a growing demand for seafood has resulted in the overexploitation of marine resources. In addition, development has led to destruction of seagrass beds, crucial habitat for coastal species (Makino 2011).

The fishing industry suffered further blows after an earthquake and tsunami hit Japan in March 2011, followed by the subsequent meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear plant. In the Iwate prefecture alone, the tsunami cost the fishing industry $1.3 billion in damage, wrecking fishing vessels and fish processing plants (Balfour et al 2013).

Fearing radiation from the nuclear plant, countries such as China and Korea banned seafood exported from Japan in the weeks following the tsunami. It took a month before fish sales finally recovered. In April 2012, researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute reported that elevated levels of radiation were still present in fish caught off the coast of the Fukushima plant. In October, they announced that 40% of fish from the area still contained unsafe levels of radioactive cesium. In January 2013, a fish was caught that contained 2500 times the legal amount of radiation (Mosbergen 2013).

Even without damage from natural disasters, fish stocks across Japan are still at risk. The species that has garnered the most media attention for its threatened stock and high economic value is the Pacific Bluefin tuna.

Japan’s Bluefin fishery has declined dramatically in recent decades, with some scientists estimating that their current stock is only 4% of its original un-fished population (Jolly 2013). As the consumer of 80% of the world’s Bluefin tuna (Foster 2013), Japan is largely responsible for this decline. Most Bluefin are caught by large purse seining vessels that indiscriminately catch fish of all sizes and ages, including juveniles.

The high market value of Bluefin has contributed to its popularity and subsequent decline. In January 2013, a single fish was auctioned off for $1.76 million (Foster 2013). While tighter regulations have been implemented as called by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, they have not been strictly enforced in Japan. Ties between the government and fishing industry, a largely apathetic media and sushi-craving public have not helped the situation. Japanese fishermen see little need to stop fishing the Pacific Bluefin as fishing boats from Taiwan and South Korea take from the same stock (Foster 2013).

While the Bluefin tuna stock faces collapse, Japan has been able to successfully manage several of its smaller, more localized fisheries. At the local level, fisheries are governed by Fishery Cooperative Associations (FCAs), organizations of local fisherman in a given region that establish their own catch limits and no-take areas. While the federal government sets the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for most species, the FCAs decide the quota distribution and access rules, usually based on the recommendations of fisheries scientists (Makino 2011).

The FCA style of management has proven successful in monitoring small-scale fisheries such as that of the snow crab and sea cucumber. After the snow crab stock in Kyoto prefecture declined in the 1970s from overfishing, the Kyoto Bottom Trawlers Union, a subset of the regional FCA, collaborated with researchers from the Kyoto Prefectural Agriculture, Forest and Fisheries Technology Center to set up permanent marine protected areas in mating and spawning grounds and seasonal no-take zones. Stricter minimum size limits and gear restrictions were also imposed.

These measures proved successful and the snow crab fishery was awarded a Marine Stewardship Council certificate in 2008. The success of the management plan was due to the cooperation of the snow crab fishermen who were heavily invested in reviving the stock. Snow crab is the most lucrative bottom trawler species and is considered a winter delicacy and tourist attraction in Kyoto (Makino 2011).

A similar management success story is the regulation of the sea cucumber fishery in Mutsu Bay. Dried sea cucumber is popular in both Japan and China, with 50% of the stock staying in Japan while the rest is exported to the Hong Kong seafood market. The fisheries is regulated by the Council for Promoting Sea Cucumber Resource Utilization which regulates size and catch limits as well as dredge vessel traffic. They have also worked with fisheries researchers to build artificial reefs made of scallop shells to restore cucumber habitat. The management model has been successful but the sea cucumber fishery still faces the threat of illegal poaching (Makino 2011).

While single species management is the most popular approach to fisheries management in Japan, ecosystem based management is practiced on the coastline of Japan’s Shiretoko peninsula, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2005. It is a highly productive area that supports marine mammals and birds, as well as commercial fisheries such as squid, Pacific cod, Atka mackerel and walleye pollock. An integrated marine management plan was adopted that identified indicator species to monitor. These species include the Walleye pollock, Pacific cod and Stellar sea lion (Makino 2011).

A whale is caught by a Japanese boat -  AFP 2012  

The Walleye pollock is commercially important and is also the main prey of the Stellar sea lion. Fishermen must record the body length of each catch. In addition, there is a limit on how many fishing vessels are allowed in the area. Territorial disputes with Russia have made it more challenging to monitor the Walleye stock as both Russia and Japan harvest the fish but do not coordinate their catch limits. Another threat to the World Heritage site as a whole is climate change, which has resulted in the decline in the seasonal sea ice that makes the peninsula so productive. Scientists are currently developing adaptive management strategies and a climate change monitoring program for the ecologically and economically important area (Makino 2011).

While the management of some Japanese fisheries has garnered international praise, Japan has come under harsh international criticism for continuing to harvest whales. The International Whaling Commission banned commercial whaling in the Southern Ocean Whaling Sanctuary in 1994. Japan has found a way around this ban by claiming it harvests whales for research purposes and then sells the by-catch to consumers. However, the IWC science committee found that the 'research' conducted by Japan has achieved very little.

Meanwhile, an estimated 500 tons of whale meat have been stockpiled as only 5% of the Japanese population still consumes whale meat. Adding to the controversy is the fact that taxpayer money has been spent on whaling. A study conducted by the International Fund for Animal Welfare found that around $400 million in taxes has gone to Japan’s whaling industry in the past 25 years, money in recent years that could have gone to support rebuilding after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami (Ryall 2013).

Japan’s whaling industry continues to face opposition from environmental groups. The Sea Shepherd conservation group has resorted to physically confronting Japan’s whaling fleet at sea. Measures against the whaling ships have included attempts to damage propellers, targeting refueling ships, and using smaller ships to get between harpooning ships and their prey. The battle has become increasingly violent, with whaling ships retaliating with water cannons and concussion grenades.

While Sea Shepherd has physically prevented Japan from harpooning whales in a handful of these encounters, nothing has changed on the legal stage. The U.S. Court of Appeals recently ruled that the actions of Sea Shepherd constituted piracy and Japanese whaling is still permitted under international law.

Australia is currently working to change that law and recently submitted a case to the International Court of Justice to ban Japanese whaling (Bryan 2013). It seems unlikely that Japan will stop whaling anytime soon. The country’s fisheries minister vowed in February that Japan would never stop hunting whales because of its importance to Japanese culture (Willacy 2013). However, public sentiment towards whaling is not what it once was, with 54% of Japanese indifferent to whaling and only 11% supporting its continuation (Ryall 2013).

From overfishing to climate change and natural disasters, the 21st century has brought more than a few challenges to Japan’s declining marine fisheries. Controversies over whaling have not helped the fishing industry’s international image.

In order to stay afloat in the changing global and political climate, the Japanese will have to adopt more sustainable fishing practices before it is too late. Japan has been able to implement management strategies for localized fisheries. However, its cultural history of seafood consumption and the economic value of the fishing industry are major obstacles in saving species such as the Pacific Bluefin tuna. Major policy changes and drastic shifts in public opinion and behavior will be necessary as Japan moves forward.


by Molly Sullivan

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.fishingboating-world.com/index.cfm?nid=111518

7:02 AM Wed 3 Jul 2013GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.







FishingBoating-World

New WA home for BRIG by Sirocco Marine
South Fremantle is now home to a new BRIG headquarters, the only authorised BRIG agent in Western Australia. ... [more]  

The Governor of NSW David Hurley is to be the patron of the new Rotary NSW Emergency Services Community Awards which will be launched on Wednesday, March 4, at Government House, Sydney ... [more]  

Rio de Janeiro's state environmental agency says it is investigating a fish die-off that has left thousands of carcasses floating in waters where sailing events are to be held when Brazil hosts next year's Olympics. ... [more]  

Twelve people on board a charter fishing boat near Broughton Island at Port Stephens had an early end to an expected day out fishing when mechanical problems stopped the 10m vessel. ... [more]  

2015 Aquece Rio International Sailing Regatta – The Notice of Race, the Olympic Test Event, has been published. The Aquece Rio – International Sailing Regatta 2015 is the second of two Rio 2016 Olympic Test Events with the first being held in 2014. Rio will welcome sailors once again from 13-22 August 2015 with racing taking place inside and outside of Guanabara Bay. ... [more]  

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and Boating Writers International (BWI) announced today winners of the 2015 Progressive Insurance Miami International Boat Show Innovation Awards, presented during the annual Industry Breakfast at the Miami Beach Convention Center. ... [more]  

A 59 year-old Bentleigh man will be charged with the use and possession of prohibited mesh nets, as well as taking undersize bream from the Maribyrnong River earlier this week. ... [more]  

Roads and Maritime Services expand live vision of conditions by Transport Roads and Maritime Services
Boaters now have access to live vision of conditions at more locations with an expanded network of 18 cameras in key coastal areas and one alpine waterway in NSW. ... [more]  

High seas weather warning for Metarea 10 issued by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre Brisbane at 0907 UTC 19 February 2015. Hurricane force wind warning for North Eastern Area. ... [more]  

Pacific Sky Power is launching the Kite Controller, a redesigned reel-bar with a compression winch that maintains equal line lengths throughout the launch and retrieval. For kayaks and canoes, this system enables sailing with a kite. ... [more]  

On a day that a television boating identity advised boaties to ‘give it a miss’, Australian Master Marine seized the opportunity of threatening skies, plenty of wind, swell and whitecaps to conduct sea trials on the first two new boats in its small plate alloy range. ... [more]  

This is an in-water trial set-up, which will involve The Albert Park Yachting and Angling Club (APYAC) assisting Fisheries Victoria and University of Melbourne to load and deploy locally sourced limestone rubble and other materials etc. onto to the seabed ... [more]  

Anglers of all abilities will be treated to the latest and greatest in leading-edge lures when the Yamaha Super Tank captivates audiences at the Gold Coast International Marine Expo (21-24 May 2015). ... [more]  

Information provided to the 13 FISH reporting line has led to two men being questioned by Fisheries Victoria for allegedly taking a large numbers of abalone, urchins and periwinkles near Portarlington. ... [more]  

A striking new exhibition of elegant images exposing the inner workings of fish from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History will open at the Australian National Maritime Museum this February. ... [more]  

The Maritime Management Centre in NSW is calling on members of the boating public to have their say on a draft paper reviewing lifejacket safety standards in Australia. ... [more]  

A 56-year-old Stawell man caught fishing without a licence at Peterborough last year has pleaded guilty to multiple offences, including possessing unauthorised commercial fishing equipment. ... [more]  

For the 2015 Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show some of the marine industry’s biggest names have already signed up. In fact, bookings are on par with this time last year – where 307 exhibitors turned out – which bodes well for another bumper event. ... [more]  

A Sunshine Coast driver has had that horrible sinking feeling after his car went under water at a local boat ramp. ... [more]  

NOAA Fisheries has released its 2015 Biennial Report to Congress highlighting U.S. findings and analyses of foreign illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities and of bycatch of protected species and shark catch on the high seas for foreign fleets. ... [more]  

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) is urging owners of emergency beacons to dispose of their unwanted beacons correctly. ... [more]  

To improve fishing opportunities for recreational anglers, more than 100,000 estuary perch fingerlings have been stocked into seven lakes and rivers across Victoria, including three new waterways never before stocked with the species. Fisheries Victoria are actively reviewing other waters across Victoria to rebuild Estuary Perch populations. ... [more]  

Most of the seafood Americans eat comes from abroad. And a lot of that is caught illegally — by vessels that ignore catch limits, or that fish in areas off-limits to fishing. ... [more]  

The Association of Collegiate Anglers (ACA) announces that Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) has renewed its title sponsorship of the 2015 Collegiate Bass Fishing Series Championship. Now in its 10th Anniversary year, the event will be held May 20-22 on Pickwick Lake in Florence, Alabama. ... [more]  

New bipartisan legislation introduced today would help ensure recreational boaters don’t put unsafe fuel in their boats, according to Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS). Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), with 30 co-sponsors introduced the Renewable Fuel Standard Reform Act of 2015. BoatUS is urging all boaters to contact their US Representative to support the bill. ... [more]  

New bipartisan legislation introduced today would help ensure recreational boaters don’t put unsafe fuel in their boats, according to Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS). Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), with 30 co-sponsors introduced the Renewable Fuel Standard Reform Act of 2015. BoatUS is urging all boaters to contact their US Representative to support the bill. ... [more]  

Last Thursday a rare and very unusual shark was caught by fishermen trawling off Green Cape, south of Eden on the NSW south coast. ... [more]  

Conservationist and world acclaimed marine wildlife artist Dr. Guy Harvey is bringing his newest documentary Panama Paradise, A Guy Harvey Expedition to the Miami International Boat Show’s Big Game Room for a South Florida premier showing. ... [more]  

Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2015, Club Marine Magazine is launching its Birthday Bonanza promotion with one great destination package being won each edition of the magazine, beginning with a Fijian fishing experience for its February/March edition. ... [more]  

Boaters are reminded to keep clear of a section of Cudgen Creek next weekend for the safe staging of a triathlon. ... [more]  

A call to the 13 FISH offence reporting line recently helped Fisheries Victoria officers detect two Melbourne men aged 24 and 27 allegedly with undersize snapper at St Helens, north of Geelong. ... [more]  

Fish stocking in the Wimmera River is more than 70 per cent above normal levels this year thanks to improved water quality and funding from Victorian recreational fishing licence fees. ... [more]  

An anonymous tip-off to the fisheries offence reporting line 13 FISH earlier this month has led to three people allegedly being caught with more than 50 times the daily catch limit for abalone near Mount Eliza. ... [more]  

Undersized fish seized on the Glenelg River at Nelson
Better access for Great Ocean Road rock fishers
Rarely sighted frilled shark turns up in Victorian waters
Keep Australia Fishing - Queensland’s recreational fisheries
Solarshield by Oceanair: Antiglare roller blind for Marine use
Superior SuperElite ends Townsville ramp rage
2014 warmest year since records began + Video
New Torquay Reef a boost for local jobs and local fishing
A life jacket made to display on a wall
Sea, road and air? Abell Point Marina has you covered
AMM takes small plate boats upmarket into ‘Sea Class’
Wahoo Smackdown VI Tournament - Marine artists are onboard
Go on a submarine adventure in a special family fun day at the museum
Go on undersea adventure in theatre show at National Maritime Museum
Sail-World.com - Contributors Guidelines *Feature
Marine Rescue Kioloa and Ulladulla vessels investigate flare sighting
Two men and 4-year-old missing on fishing trip off Jervis Bay
Summer reminder about yabby fishing rules
Wish a Marine Rescue NSW volunteer a happy New Year on Sydney Harbour
Stop thief! Spies nab Spy thieves
Stop thief! Spies nab Spy thieves   
Marine Rescue Batemans Bay brings two home safe on Christmas Eve   
Learn to make personal watercraft safety a priority this summer   
2015 Victorian Recreational Fishing Guide is now available   
2015 Lakefest Aquatic Week - A week-long celebration of boating   
Seven tips to get more out of a marine survey   
Marine Auctions raises the bar with live internet bidding for auctions   
You are what you eat – if you’re a coral reef fish   
Keep safe on the water this holiday season   
Sail-World new format - Important first visit changes needed   
Four new 'Fish Friendly Marina' accreditations announced   
Another successful auction year comes to a close at Runaway Bay Marina   
Marine Auctions is proud to announce the return of Bill Fankhauser   
Go on an underwater adventure this summer at the museum   
2014 Sanctuary Classic winners announced   
AMA raises concerns about banning small cottage based fishermen   
Club Marine's all-new TeleClaims and Online Claims   
Introduction of NSW's first combined car and boat licence   
Scientist explores mysterious food-borne illness: ciguatera   
Bum breathing icon’s future in doubt   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL NEW FBW
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT