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Japan's Sacred Bluefin, Loved Too Much
VIDEO | Overfishing Affects Tokyo's Tuna Supply
Japan eats more tuna than any other country in the world, consuming about a quarter of the global catch. As other countries increase their imports of tuna, Japan is making major quota cuts to protect the fish. Tokyo's Tsukiji Market, the largest wholesale fish market in the world, is making major adjustments to cope with the limited supply of tuna. Wholesale prices are on the rise, but restaurants are hesitant to pass the price hikes on to customers.
"These are the times we live in," he explained, adding that by selling from his freezer he can average out costs and slowly pass price increases on to customers, while compensating for an increasingly unreliable supply of tuna at auction.
The World Wildlife Fund and other environmental groups say that much more regulation is needed to protect the fish.
But Japan has won some measured praise for abiding by substantial reductions in its tuna quota and for finally realizing that overfishing is a national problem.
Iida believes a permanent change in Japanese attitudes and consumption can save the tuna -- and preserve his country's tuna-centric culture.
"We all have to share what we have got," he said. "If we do that, I don't think they are going extinct."
Special correspondent Akiko Yamamoto contributed to this report.