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Japan’s Victory Against Bluefin Tuna Ban – Negative Externality

Yahoo News: Click Here

Al Jazeera English: Click Here

Financial Times: Click Here

According to Yahoo News, Japanese fish dealers on Friday welcomed the rejection of a proposed trade ban on Atlantic bluefin tuna — a prized ingredient of sushi — while urging that existing quotas be more strictly enforced to protect the species from overfishing.

When I saw the news on NHK, the Japanese national television channel, it reported how Japanese people sighed with relief.

Japan consumes about 80% of bluefin tunas caught in the world, and this has created the problem of possibility of extinction of bluefin tuna. In fact, according to Financial Times,  scientists estimated that bluefin stocks have fallen by 75 per cent since the 1950s. Large fish now sell for tens of thousands of dollars.

Japan’s consumption of bluefin tuna had the negative externality of decrease in the number of bluefin tuna and the possible extinction of the tuna. This will be explained a lot better if you loot at a diagram.

As you see the Diagram, Japanese consumption of bluefin tuna is creating a negative externality of decrease in the number of the species and possible extinction of the species. The current consumption curve is on MPB which should be on MSB that reflects these negative externalities. Point(Q*,P*) is the optimum point where it is considered appropriate for the price and the quantity consumed for the bluefin tuna. The US and the European countries tried to ban the consumption of bluefin tuna in order to overcome this negative externality, but they were defeated by Japanese lobbyists and many bluefin tuna fans.

Personally, I am a great fan of tuna and sushi so I was grateful for what Japanese have done. But, I wasn’t that happy because I realized that there were these kinds of negative externalities associated with my lovely consumption of tunas 😦 I think that Japanese should increase the number of bluefin tunas by making a tuna farm. That way, it’ll increase the quantity the supply of tunas and decrease the price of it making it happy for the consumers like me 🙂 I’ve heard that it is hard to ‘cultivate’ or raise these big fish in a isolated pools, but I hope that Japanese fishery industries develop a way to ‘cultivate’ (I don’t know other apt vocabulary to replace this) them.

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