SEOUL (Reuters) - Asia-Pacific nations have agreed to cut their catches of bigeye tuna by 30 percent by 2011 in order to help preserve the fish that is popular in the region served raw as sushi and sashimi.
The deal, announced late on Friday, calls on the 25 members of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission to implement cuts of 10 percent a year on bigeye tuna from 2009 to 2011. The group met this week in the South Korean city of Busan.
The group, which includes South Korea, Japan and the United States, also agreed to place limits on the fishing season and ban fishing of bigeye tuna in international waters, according to a summary of the meeting provided by South Korea’s fisheries agency on Saturday.
Western and Central Pacific tuna stocks are the largest in the world and account for more than half the tuna consumed.
A decline in bluefin stocks has increased demand for bigeye tuna, which is fished in the Indian and Atlantic oceans and the Western and Central Pacific.
Worldwide stocks of bigeye tuna, a prime source for Japanese restaurants serving sushi and sashimi around the world, are on the verge of collapse from overfishing, conservationists say.
In November, the European Union and nations such as Russia, Japan and South Korea that fish the Atlantic and Mediterranean, cut bluefin tuna quotas by 30 percent to 19,950 tonnes in 2010.
Reporting by Jon Herskovitz and Seo Eun-kyung; Editing by Bill Tarrant