Press Release

December 14, 2015

Fisheries Research Agency

The trend of increasing stocks of Japanese sardines is likely to intensify

The biomass of Pacific stock of Japanese sardine significantly decreased from the early 1990s, when the landings exceeded one million tons, to the late 2000s. The landings decreased to only 27,000 tons in 2008. However, newly recruitment in 2010 was abundant, and in the summer of 2011, age-1 fish of this year-class migrated to the waters off northern Sanriku to waters off Eastern Hokkaido, forming fishing grounds there after 18 years’ interval.

The Fisheries Research Agency has been conducting the research survey every fall to estimate the abundance of Japanese sardine off the northwest Pacific Ocean. According to the survey results, the recruitment between 2011 and 2014 were also high and the biomass and landings have been increasing in recent years.

The latest research survey results conducted in fall 2015 indicated good survival of age-0 fish of this stock, and the estimated biomass greatly exceeded the biomass of 2010 to 2014 year class. Therefore, the trend of increasing biomass of Japanese sardines is likely to intensify.

The trend of the small pelagic fish biomass such as the Japanese sardines influences many industries, including the distribution and processing industries. We will continue our investigations and report the results promptly.