Examining public support for international agreements on tuna management and conservation

Mihoko Wakamatsu, Shunsuke Managi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Many tuna stocks are being depleted, and the bluefin tuna stock is of particular concern because it has been designated endangered or severely overexploited. Japan's actions are pivotal in protecting bluefin tuna stocks because high volumes are caught for sushi/sashimi. However, the efforts of the Japanese government to conserve these valuable stocks have been limited or even counterproductive, as the government currently seems to prioritise the short-term interests of the domestic fishing industry. In this study, public preferences are revealed, potentially affecting the position of the Japanese government in the long run by quantifying the extent to which public support could be generated with changes in specific features of the international agreement on the conservation and management of tuna resources. With a choice experiment that focused on the catch limits, target species, and parties who would be responsible for the expenses of monitoring, this paper finds that a fishery closure is the scenario least likely to inspire public support for tuna conservation. Japanese consumers favour a prompt management response to the overfishing of tuna fisheries beginning immediately when the exploitation of the stocks reaches an unsustainable level. Atlantic/Pacific bluefin tuna, compared to other tuna species, is a top conservation priority for Japanese consumers. These results indicate that although the current movement towards conserving bluefin tuna is publicly supported, conservation actions should have been initiated sufficiently early to avoid a drastic catch reduction before the stock was overfished or the population became endangered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-306
Number of pages9
JournalMarine Policy
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aquatic Science
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Law


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