- Title: JAPAN: Tokyo vows to fight Europe's proposal to ban bluefish tuna trade
- Date: 24th February 2010
- Summary: TOKYO, JAPAN (FEBRUARY 23, 2010) (REUTERS) SUSHI RESTAURANT'S BILLBOARD FEATURING GIANT TUNA FISH PICTURE CARS PASSING IN FRONT OF BILLBOARD PEOPLE EATING AT SUSHI RESTAURANT SUSHI SLICING TUNA MEAT CHEF MAKING SUSHI BLUEFIN TUNA SUSHI ON PLATE CHEF SERVING SUSHI PLATE CLOSE UP OF BLUEFIN TUNA SUSHI CUSTOMER EATING SUSHI (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) TAMIO KINJO, 54, SUSHI CHEF, SAYING: "We might have to change our menu. If bluefin tuna is no longer available, then we'd have to use other fish like bigeye tuna. That would mean lowering our standards." EXTERIOR OF JAPAN'S MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES SIGN READING "MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES" (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) HIROTAKA AKAMATSU, MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES, SAYING: "We've sent our senior ministry official to Spain and we're doing all we can in Europe. We're trying our best to avoid having a ban enacted." TOKYO, JAPAN (FEBRUARY 22, 2010) (REUTERS) FISH MARKET STREET WALKING SHOT OF STREET TUNA MEAT BEING WRAPPED WITH PLASTIC FISHMONGER SELLING TUNA VARIOUS TUNA MEAT AT STOREFRONT FISHMONGER HIDEYUKI MINEMURA (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) HIDEYUKI MINEMURA, 62, FISHMONGER, SAYING: "We'd just need to change the type of fish. Bluefin tuna is not the only fish in the world. There are a lot of other alternatives around." SHOPPERS ON FISH MARKET STREET (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) KIYONO IMAO, 62, SHOPPER, SAYING: "Eating sushi could be less enjoyable without bluefin tuna." (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) HIBIYA, 65, SHOPPER, SAYING: "We cannot just consume tuna without farming them. It's a natural consequence that they disappear if we just keep eating them. We need to farm them more and catch wild tuna less." SHOPPERS CLOSE UP OF TUNA MEAT
- Embargoed: 11th March 2010 12:00
- Location: Japan
- Country: Japan
- Topics: Environment / Natural World,Industry
- Reuters ID: LVA1K6AOJCSNUF0LWBEPBQDUEM57
- Story Text: Japanese sushi lovers and workers react to the Europe Union's proposal of a ban on trade in Atlantic bluefin tuna, which the government of Japan vows to fight.
The European Union's proposal of banning global trade of Atlantic bluefin tuna is puzzling Japanese sushi lovers and workers, with Tokyo vowing to fight any action taken on the highly-prized fish.
Japan, which consumes three-quarters of the global bluefin tuna catch from both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, opposes the EU-led ban involving the warm-blooded fish that fetches up to $170,000.
"We might have to change our menu. If bluefin tuna is no longer available, then we'd have to use other fish like bigeye tuna. That would mean lowering our standards," said Tamio Kinjo, a 54-year-old sushi chef in Tokyo.
On Monday (February 22), the EU's executive body, the European Commission, proposed to add Atlantic Bluefin Tuna to the endangered species list and to ban commercial fishing saying current measures to protect the fish are not working.
The EU's 27 nations will soon vote on backing an international ban ahead of a U.N. "endangered" species meeting that will take place next month in Doha, involving 175 countries.
Japan's farm minister told Reuters Television on Tuesday (February 23) that Japan has started lobbying in Europe against the EU-proposed ban.
"We've sent our senior ministry official to Spain and we're doing all we can in Europe. We're trying our best to avoid having a ban enacted," said Hirotaka Akamatsu, minister in charge of agriculture, forestry and fisheries.
Akamatsu also said Tokyo considers that such an issue must be dealt with at the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) and not at the U.N. body called CITES, short for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
Scientists say bluefin stocks have fallen by over 80 percent in the last 40 years.
In Japan, the $2 billion industry spans from wet-markets to sushi restaurants, where "hon-maguro" goes for up to $300 a kilogram.
But some fishmongers are practical and ready to adjust to change, if any.
"We'd just need to change the type of fish. Bluefin tuna is not the only fish in the world. There are a lot of other alternatives around," said Hideyuki Minemura, 62, who's been selling fish for 25 years at a Tokyo fish market.
Japanese consumers' reactions are mixed.
"Eating sushi could be less enjoyable without bluefin tuna," said Kiyono Imao, 62, whose family celebrates every major anniversaries and family events with big sushi plates.
Another tuna lover, a 65-year-old man who only gave his last name as Hibiya, said he understood the EU's point of view.
"We cannot just consume tuna without farming them. It's a natural consequence that they disappear if we just keep eating them. We need to farm them more and catch wild tuna less," Hibiya said.
The World Wildlife Fund predicts overfishing will wipe out the bluefin tuna in 3 years, saying only a complete ban will save it.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2011. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None