Japan Tightens Tuna Fishing Controls

Japan tightens tuna fishing controls

Japan is stepping up its efforts to protect bluefin tuna in the Pacific Ocean with penalties for overfishing. The move comes amid growing concern about the fish's dwindling numbers.

The Fisheries Agency added Pacific bluefin to a list of species with catch quotas on Tuesday.

It's limiting the amount to just under 9,000 tons per year. That's based on an international agreement and consultations with specialists and people from the industry.

Officials say the new rule will take effect in January for offshore fisheries and in July for coastal ones.

Government and prefectural officials are to give advice and warnings when the catch nears the limit.

They plan to order fishers to stop catching Pacific bluefin if there's a strong possibility of exceeding the quota.

Intentional violators face up to 3 years in prison or a fine of up to about 18,000 dollars.