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Fisheries body agrees to slash catch of endangered bluefin tuna; species likely still at risk

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TOKYO - The multi-nation fisheries body that monitors most of the Pacific Ocean has agreed to cut the catch of juvenile bluefin tuna to half of its average level in 2002-2004.

The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission reached the decision Thursday as it ended an annual meeting in Fukuoka, a city in western Japan.

The commission, which monitors the western two-thirds of the Pacific, also endorsed catch limits for adult bluefin and set a 10-year target of rebuilding its population to 8 per cent of its unfished size.

Conservation group The Pew Charitable Trusts said the measures are encouraging but only a first step toward saving the species, which has been decimated by overfishing.

Japanese eat 80 per cent of the world's bluefin tuna, or "hon maguro," a sushi mainstay.

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