From: Reuters
Published December 18, 2006 12:00 AM

Pacific Fisheries Group Maintains Tuna Quotas

TOKYO — An international group managing tuna stocks in the western and central Pacific Ocean has ruled that quotas for bigeye tuna catches in 2007 and 2008 should be maintained, Japanese media reported on Sunday.

Last month, Japan was rocked by news that global quotas for Atlantic bluefin tuna -- a prized, high-end sushi ingredient -- will be cut by nearly eight percent next year. Japan, where fish is an import part of the diet, eats more than half of the world's bluefin.

In a five-day annual meeting in Samoa, the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission said that member countries would uphold last year's agreement that fishing quotas, mainly for bigeye tuna, should remain unchanged in 2006-2008 from annual averages in 2001-2004, Kyodo news agency said.

About 30 countries and regions, including Japan, Fiji and the European Commission, took part in the meeting.

Japan's annual average catch of bigeye tuna stood at 35,000 tons in the western and central Pacific in 2001-2004, Kyodo said, adding that Japan would be able to maintain that level over the next two years.

Some experts had wanted catch reductions of 25 percent for bigeye tuna and 10 percent for yellowfin, saying that if fishing continued at current levels, stocks could soon be in trouble.

Japan opposed such restrictions. Local media has been awash with reports of possible quota cuts that would curb supplies of sushi and sashimi, popular in restaurants and households.

Source: Reuters

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