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Japan Ready For Cut In Indian Ocean Tuna Catch

Bluefin tuna.
by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) Nov 28, 2006
Japan is ready for a cut in the Indian Ocean's tuna catch, the latest focus of conservation efforts to counter a growing demand for Japanese sashimi and sushi, an official said Tuesday. International bodies last month approved cuts in the catches of bluefin tuna in the Pacific Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.

In another move that could drive up sushi prices in Japan, scientists at the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission have proposed bringing down the catch of bigeye tuna, according to Japan's agriculture ministry.

If countries accept the proposal, the overall catch of bigeye tuna in the Indian Ocean will total 110,000 tons a year, down from 130,000 tons now.

Japan eats one-quarter of the world's tuna, more than any other country, and environmentalists have blamed the global fad for Japanese food for bringing tuna numbers to the brink of extinction.

"Japan does not particularly mind reducing the number as long as we can always catch bigeye tuna," said Ryo Mori, a ministry official who deals with overseas fishing.

"In fact, as many developing coastal countries around the Indian Ocean want to see their catch increase, (Japan) feels strongly about the need to control the level of the catch around that area," he added.

Japan on its own caught 11,000 tons of bigeye tuna in the Indian Ocean in 2005, according to data from the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission, an intergovernmental group based in the Seychelles.

Japan is also a major market for other countries catching tuna. Japan caught a total of 80,000 bigeye tuna last year, mostly in the Pacific Ocean, according to government figures.

Japan last month accepted a major cut in its quota for southern bluefin tuna in the Pacific Ocean as punishment for overfishing. On Sunday, a meeting in Croatia agreed to slash the catch of bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean Sea.

Japan has often clashed with environmentalists, who strongly oppose its annual killing of whales and dolphins for meat.

Source: Agence France-Presse

Related Links
Indian Ocean Tuna Commission

Wheat Gene May Boost Foods' Nutrient Content
Davis CA (SPX) Nov 27, 2006
Researchers at the University of California, Davis; the U.S. Department of Agriculture; and the University of Haifa in Israel have cloned a gene from wild wheat that increases the protein, zinc and iron content in the grain, potentially offering a solution to nutritional deficiencies affecting hundreds of millions of children around the world.

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