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Commission rejects saury catch quota proposal

Jiji Press SAPPORO (Jiji Press) — The North Pacific Fisheries Commission failed to reach an accord on Japan-proposed saury catch quotas during talks in Sapporo on Saturday, the third and final day of its annual meeting.

The proposed curbs were rejected as premature by China, South Korea and Russia, conference sources said.

The eight-member fisheries commission plans to discuss catch quotas again at its annual meeting next year, the sources said.

The Japanese government attributes dwindling saury catches in waters around Japan partly to overfishing by China and Taiwan.

Unless preventive measures are put in place soon, saury prices could remain high.

Japan proposed setting an annual saury catch limit of about 560,000 tons in total, including 240,000 tons for itself, 190,000 tons for Taiwan, 50,000 tons for China and 20,000 tons for South Korea.

Such a quota system for the fish was proposed for the first time by Japan. The Japanese proposal was based on past saury catches by member economies.

The proposed quota was bigger for Japan and Taiwan than their catches in recent years, but smaller for China.

Although Taiwan and the United States supported the Japanese proposal, no specific discussions were held on catch quotas, according to the sources.

Japan also called for a prohibition on increasing the number of saury fishing boats and it was decided that the ban will be imposed mainly on China, Taiwan and South Korea for a year.

Regarding China’s saury fishing operations, all other participating economies demanded that it root out illegal fishing boats.

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