Japanese government says global warming a factor in fishing industry problems and poor catches


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This archive photo from November 9, 2020 shows the Pacific Ride at Hanasaki Port in Nemuro, Hokkaido. (Mainichi / Hiroaki Homma)

TOKYO – Japanese government aims to tackle problems in the fishing industry while identifying global warming as one of the causes of continued low catches of Pacific saury, salmon and other fish in the waters of the country in recent years.

It will be the first time that the national government has taken fishing countermeasures against global warming while pointing to the phenomenon as one of the reasons for the small catches. The government will urge fisheries to change their business models while taking into account their impact on climate change.

The Fisheries Agency will prepare measures by early June. In anticipation of the persistence of poor catches, the agency is ready to make plans for the fishing industry to shift to a system adaptable to environmental changes, for example by diversifying the types of fish caught and the fishing methods. The countermeasures will also be reflected in the Basic Fisheries Plan, a medium and long-term fisheries administration policy to be put in place in the spring of next year.

Domestic catches of Pacific saury, salmon and Japanese flying squid began to decline rapidly around 2014, according to the agency. A total of 141,803 metric tonnes were caught in 2019, down 74.1% from catches of 2014. The year 2019 saw record numbers for catches of all three.

In response to these developments, the Fisheries Agency established a review committee in April 2021 and conducted discussions on the future of the fishery. During the interviews, the agency analyzed trends in Japanese balaur, salmon and flying squid. He revealed that Balauri fishing sites had moved to offshore areas, Japanese flying squid spawning grounds had shrunk, and lower rates of salmon were returning to their release sites. He determined that climate change, such as rising seawater temperature and changes in ocean currents, was causing small catches.

Although the regular periods of poor and abundant catches have been cyclical, the agency expressed concern that “in the future, catches may not return to their original quantities and bad traits will continue. “.

Because prolonged periods of poor catch are very damaging to fishing companies, the agency aims to ensure that the industry fishes in accordance with the state of natural resources by urging them to diversify their catches and fishing methods in order to reduce the risks. Within the framework of environmental measures, the agency will also make progress in the field of electric fishing boats.

(Japanese original by Taiki Asakawa, Tokyo Business News Department)

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