The domestic shipments of farmed Pacific bluefin tuna in Japan in 2012 totaled 9,592 tons, slightly less than 10,224 tons in the previous year, according to the Fisheries Agency of the Japanese government on March 29. From 2010, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) required tuna farmers to report on the production results in order to tighten management of the Pacific bluefin tuna stock. Based on these figures, MAFF has been making the Pacific bluefin tuna production public on a calendar year basis since last year.
The 2012 results show that the number of enterprises engaging in bluefin tuna farming in Japan in 2012 remained unchanged from the previous year at 83 while the number of farming sites increased by three to 140 and that of farming cages increased by 160 to 1,191.
There has been no significant increase in bluefin tuna farming since October 26, 2012 when the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries issued instruction to the effect that the scale of bluefin tuna farming sites and cages should not be expanded from the current level, in accordance with the management measures of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC).
The shipment volume of farmed bluefin tuna in 2012 totaled 176,000 fish, which was a decrease of 14,000 fish from the preceding year. Of this amount, 168,400 fish were derived from wild seedlings while 7,300 were taken from artificial seedlings. The shipment volume was 9,592 tons, down 623 tons–9,348 tons from the wild seedlings and 244 tons from artificial seedlings.
On the other hand, fish transferred into cages largely decreased as the catch of juvenile bluefin tunas saw poor catch on a nationwide scale, in a trend that continued from 2011. The number of fish transferred in 2012 decreased from 752,000 in 2011 to 474,000. Notably, wild seedlings decreased from 539,000 fish in 2011 to 206,000 fish, while artificial seedlings showed a slight increase from 214,000 fish to 268,000 fish.
The decrease does not immediately affect the shipment volume as farmed tunas are shipped after 2-3 years of farming period. But it remains to be seen how the shortage in cage transfer last year would affect the shipments in next year and afterwards.
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