ホーム > 分野別情報 > まぐろに関する情報 > Announcement by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) on Actions toward effective conservation and management for Pacific bluefin tuna (May 11, 2010)


Announcement by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) on 
Actions toward effective conservation and management for Pacific bluefin tuna (May 11, 2010)

I. Background

(1) In recent years, increasing international attention has been paid to the conservation and management of fishery resources, in particular bluefin tuna. At the 15th Conference of the Parties of CITES (COP15) last March, a proposal to ban the international trade in Atlantic bluefin tuna was presented from the perspective that ICCAT had been failing to ensure effective conservation and management measures for this species.


This proposal was rejected by a vote at COP15. A major reason for this result is that Japan successfully convinced other countries that ICCAT is the appropriate body for conserving and managing Atlantic bluefin tuna. At the ICCAT annual meeting last year, Japan took the leadership in working out the stringent conservation and management measures for rebuilding of Atlantic bluefin tuna stocks. Such Japanese leadership and positive attitude toward conservation of resources made the Japanese effort significantly more convincing and persuasive in the Doha CITES Conference.


On the other hand, there are still prevailing concerns in the international community that the conservation and management measures by RFMOs are not effective enough. It is likely that RFMOs will be required to further strengthen their conservation and management measures, not only for Atlantic bluefin tuna, but also for other species.


(2) With respect to Pacific bluefin tuna, Japan is the largest fishing nation as well as the almost exclusive consuming nation of this species, as shown below. Japan, therefore, has a special responsibility for the sustainable use of this species.

(a) Over 70% of the total Pacific bluefin tuna catches are harvested by Japan;

(b) Major Pacific bluefin tuna spawning grounds are around Japan; and

(c) Most of the Pacific bluefin tuna harvested by other countries, such as Mexico and Korea, are exported to Japan.


A concern has been reported over the possible stock decline of Pacific bluefin tuna due to increasing fishing pressure on juvenile fish. Addressing such a concern, the WCPFC, at its annual meeting last year, adopted a conservation and management measure for 2010 designed to freeze the total fishing effort and to reduce the fishing mortality of juvenile fish. This is a first step, and Japan will continue to take the leadership to promote the conservation and management of Pacific bluefin tuna. For these reasons, it is necessary for Japan to start domestic fishery management and strengthen research for this species even before other members of WCPFC take such actions so that the international conservation program can follow such Japanese initiative.


II. Direction and Actions to be taken

1. Direction

MAFF will promote conservation and management of Pacific buefin tuna by “reducing the juvenile catch” for future catch of bigger fish. MAFF will also take necessary measures to ensure that the Spawning Stock Biomass (SSB) of Pacific bluefin tuna, which fluctuates significantly, will be maintained within the appropriate range in the mid and long term (5-10 years), and to prevent the SSB from dropping from a level lower than the historically lowest level observed.

2. Actions

To realize the above direction, MAFF will implement the following measures regarding (1) domestic fisheries management, (2) international actions, and (3) research activities, starting this fiscal year:


(1) Domestic fisheries management

MAFF will consider introducing the following conservation and management measures. As a part of this effort, MAFF will establish “the Resource Recovery Plan for Pacific bluefin tuna” by the end this fiscal year for (a) and (b) below, so as to implement it from fiscal year 2011. Also, MAFF will consider the introduction of the Income Assurance System in the fishery sector, to promote the smooth implementation of the Resource Recovery Plan.

(a) Offshore fisheries

For large and medium scale purse seine fisheries, proper management measures in light of the nature of the actual fishing operations. MAFF will consider a closure period, a catch size limit, an individual quota system, and combination of such measures for this purpose.

(b) Coastal fisheries

For small scale coastal fisheries such as trolling, a vessel registration system, with a mandatory catch reporting requirement, will be introduced. This can be a basis for future introduction of a limited entry system.

(c) Aquaculture

For aquaculture, a new category, “bluefin tuna aquaculture” will be established in the aquaculture licensing system, and registration of bluefin tuna aquaculture sites will be required to local governments, with a mandatory reporting requirement from aquaculture farmers in order to obtain accurate information on such aquaculture activities.


(2) International actions

Japan will work with relevant countries at WCPFC to realize the following;

(a) Strengthening of the conservation and management measures

Japan will work to improve the WCPFC conservation and management measure adopted last year, to reflect “Direction” in (1), and to expand the application of the measure to all the relevant areas.

(b) Cooperation with IATTC

Japan will, in close cooperation with IATTC, call on Mexico, which harvests bluefin tuna in the eastern Pacific and is a cooperating non-member to WCPFC, to ensure cooperation to effectively implement WCPFC conservation and management measures.


(3) Research activities

The following scientific research activities will be expanded and strengthened, with a view to scientifically verifying and assisting “Direction” in (1) and “Actions” in (2) (a) and (b) and to reflecting the collected data on conservation and management measures expeditiously. These efforts will be organized by the newly established “Pacific Bluefin Research Division” of the Fisheries Research Agency, in cooperation and collaboration with related universities and prefectural governments:

(a) Acceleration of information collection

  • A network will be established among relevant national and foreign scientists to assist scientific research. 
  • A system will be established for assessing a level of new recruitment of juvenile fish in a timely and accurate manner.

(b) Expansion of research on spawning grounds

  • Research will be strengthened on spawning grounds and seasons.

(c) Technology Development

  • To realize the complete culturing techniques and the stock enhancement methods, technology will be developed on seed production, expansion of seed production level, and enhancement of seed.

(4) Public relations

MAFF will continue sharing information on the sustainable use of Pacific bluefin tuna, not only with the fishing industry, but also with the general public, so that the situation will be broadly recognized and understood.