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The Production of Saury in Japan Has Dropped Sharply by More Than 80%, and the Fishing Quota System

During the North Atlantic Seafood Forum (NASF), Ayumu Katano, a researcher at Maruha Nichiro Corporation, the world's largest aquaculture company, said that from 2018 to 2022, the production of major pelagic fish in Japan will decrease year by year, and the fishing of saury will decrease year by year. The volume will drop from 439,000 tons in 2018 to less than 100,000 tons in 2021, and the production in 2022 will be even scarcer.

Katano said that the 2022 Japanese saury catch quota (TAC) is 155,000 tons, while the actual production is only about 18,000 tons. In terms of catch management, saury quotas no longer play a role.

Pacific saury resources are jointly developed by Japan, China, South Korea, Russia, Taiwan, and Vanuatu. With the decline in Japan's production, Taiwan has taken the largest share of saury catches, followed by China.

"The saury population is in a very difficult situation right now," Katano said. "The Pacific saury population has migrated to the open sea, and although Japan fishes in international waters, the overall catch has been declining and the situation is getting worse."

"The same is true for the overall capture fishery. In 2021 and 2022, Japan's TAC is about three times the total catch. I often urge Japan to re-establish fishing quotas based on actual conditions, but it is not popular in Japan." Katano explain.

The mackerel fishery risks suffering a similar fate, Katano said. Currently, Pacific mackerel biomass appears to be healthy, but actual catches are rather depressed, a situation that predates the decline in saury stocks.


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