First Cap Set On Pacific Saury Catches

First cap set on Pacific saury catches

Delegations from seven countries and one territory have agreed to set a ceiling on Pacific saury catches. This is the first cap of its kind aimed at protecting the fish's dwindling population.

The agreement came at a three-day meeting of the North Pacific Fisheries Commission, which concluded in Tokyo on Thursday.

The gathering brought together delegates from all eight commission members -- Japan, China, Taiwan, South Korea, the United States, Canada, Russia, and Vanuatu.

They agreed to cap saury catches in the North Pacific next year at 556,250 tons for all the commission members combined.

The ceiling is above last year's total of 437,000 tons. This may have nudged the delegates to agree on the upper limit.

The delegates also placed a cap of 330,000 tons on high-seas catches. Ships from China and Taiwan are fishing in the waters.

Catch quotas for each commission member will be discussed at a meeting next year.

The stocks of North Pacific saury have shrunk to roughly one-third of those 20 years ago. The average population from 2016 to 2018 is estimated to be around 20 percent below the level considered sufficient to sustain the species.