July 15, 2017 9:26 pm JST

Int'l meeting ends without agreement on Japan saury quota proposal

© Kyodo

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- An international meeting ended Saturday without approving a Japan proposal to set country-by-country quotas for saury to prevent overfishing, as it was opposed by China, Russia and South Korea, the Fisheries Agency said.

The seven participating countries and Taiwan will continue discussing the issue at the next meeting to be held July next year in Japan, the agency said. The three-day meeting through Saturday was held in Sapporo, northern Japan.

In a move to address concerns over the rapid increase in fishing by China and Taiwan, Japan had proposed setting a total annual quota of 560,000 tons for the eight members of the North Pacific Fisheries Commission.

Under the proposal, the total quota would be divided among members based on their past catches. Japan would be allocated 240,000 tons, Taiwan 190,000 tons and China 40,000-50,000 tons.

The commission did agree to prohibit members from increasing the number of registered deep-sea fishing ships, a stronger commitment than the previous agreement to keep the number from rapidly growing.

The commission was launched in 2015 to discuss the sustainable use of fishery resources in the North Pacific. The other members are the United States, Canada, Russia, South Korea and Vanuatu.

Saury, a common ingredient in Japanese dishes, has become a popular target for fishermen amid growing demand in other parts of Asia.

Japan has voiced concern that fishing by large Chinese and Taiwanese boats on the open sea is limiting the number of saury heading to fishing grounds within its exclusive economic zone.

Japan's annual catch had stayed around 200,000-300,000 tons in the past but has dropped below 120,000 tons for the last two years.

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