Move into aquaculture, Japanese fishing industry urged

Japanese fishers are being urged to consider switching to aquaculture amid fears about rising sea temperatures, according to reports from the Far East.

Japan’s fisheries agency, worried about environmental changes, is planning budgetary measures to encourage fishermen to move to fish farming, according to The Japan News, the English-language news agency of the Yomiuri Shimbun.

The agency says fish catch volumes have declined especially in terms of puffer fish which are caught mainly in seas off western Japan.

It reports: “According to an expert panel of the agency, water temperatures in the seas around Japan rose 1.24°C over a 100-year period to 2022, topping the global average of 0.6°C for the same period.

“The rise in seawater temperatures is believed to have had a significant impact on fish species that live near the water surface.

Domestic catches of hairtail, formerly landed in the Seto Inland Sea, have dropped in recent years, too. However, hauls have grown in scope in the Tohoku region.

“Juvenile hairtail have been observed in Sendai Bay, and there are signs that the fish’s spawning area has expanded northward. Similarly, blue swimming crabs’ habitats also appear to be moving northward.”

However, climate changes have also led to increases in catches of pilchard and yellowtail.

In the past couple of months the fisheries agency has drawn up plans to encourage fishing vessel operators to look at aquaculture as an alternative, but it also plans to increase catches where appropriate.

At the same time the Japanese government has produced a white paper recommending the country reduces its dependence on imported seafood by increasing its fish farming capability.

The white paper cites the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine as one reason. Japan currently imports 40% of its salmon.

But investment in salmon farming in Japan, both from internal sources and from Norwegian companies like Proximar, is on the rise.

 

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