Japan, 7 other economies agree to cut saury catch quotas by 40%

©Kyodo News

Japan, China and six other economies of the North Pacific Fisheries Commission agreed Thursday to cut their saury catch quotas by 40 percent to 333,750 tons per year in order to address fishery resource depletion.

The new catch limit, which was decided during a three-day online meeting through Thursday, will be in place until the end of 2022.

The saury catch limit is currently set at 556,250 tons among the eight participating economies, with 330,000 tons allocated for high seas and 226,250 tons for exclusive economic zones in Japanese and Russian waters. The members have agreed to cut both allocations by 40 percent to 198,000 tons and 135,750 tons, respectively.

Tokyo proposed a reduction of the annual catch quotas, first agreed to in 2019, as a way to prevent overfishing in the high seas by China and Taiwan.

According to a national saury fisheries cooperative, Japan's saury haul in 2020 fell 27 percent from the previous year to a record low 29,566 tons.

The commission's other seven participants -- Canada, China, Russia, South Korea, Taiwan, the United States and Vanuatu -- have also been experiencing poor catches in recent years.

According to Japan's fisheries agency, the combined catch of all participants excluding the United States and Canada in 2019 fell nearly 60 percent from the previous year to 191,000 tons, far less than the new agreed limit.