How are fish stocks, overall?

As of today, I don't think there's a good assessment of the volume, the biomass of blue fin tuna in the North Pacific. What I see that comes to our coast every year, I believe there is a good body of fish. I don't see it being depleted. This year we saw more fish that I have in the last five or six years. On saying that, I also do believe and I fully support research to determine as best we can, what the mass of fish is that we are working-the stock assessment. I think that's a very controversial thing to access. I think it's a difficult thing to access, But I'm fully for it. I do believe that there will be a quota on this fish in the near future, not hopefully because it has been depleted but just strictly to sustain what we have for the future.

Could you elaborate on that?

Well, for fish farming, you are limited to the holding capacity you have. And if you go beyond, and push beyond what you have then you end up with a poor quality product. With the world market of blue fin is a little declining, the price in Japan is getting a little soft, there's a lot of people in the world fishing this type of fish for the sushi market, what will determine my profit is having quality fish. By us working diligently at keeping track of what we have and taking care of what we have, I think in the long run, we don't need the quantity like the old days. We need the quality. That's what we strive for. This year there is more fish, as I stated, this year in the waters that we're working on, I've seen more in quite a few years. There was a tremendous amount of one particular 2-year class fish that we didn't fish at all.

We elected not to work on them and we stayed away from them. We worked the fish in the three to four year class, five year class, that have had a change to spawn in the past, and that's the fish that we work on. We work on a size fish because it's better for us for the market. But it's also better the body of the stock of fish. And so, that was our goal. There still is today a lot of fish in our waters we could be fishing. But if we went for that fish, we would have to sell it to the cannery. There is a market, and they will pay us for the fish at the cannery. Our company elects not to do that and to target this fish and hopefully hold this fish for the fresh fish market where we won't have to work on the stocks and deplete the stocks. That's our intent.

How did you arrive at your stocking capacity?

We've come up with a ratio: one kilo of fish to three cubic meters of water. Then, I would say that's sort of a world standard, at least Australia started using those figures. We feel as though if the pen is not dense enough, it seems like the fish won't feed as good. If it's over-dense, then you're going to start stressing the fish and then you're going to lose the quality of the fish. So, we try to maintain a certain density. Our pens are 40 meters in diameter and we try to hold about 40 tons of fish.

Is there anything I should ask you about this kind of aquaculture?

Most of my fish have gone into the can in the tuna business. I had a vision quite a few years ago of something better. I think that personally we need to look into the future and try different things to save our resources. Also I think fish farming is the way. When I was a child, I remember today, somebody telling me not to worry about the land so much because we had the ocean to fall back on. We could harvest the ocean and it's a never-ending supply. Well, I don't believe that. I especially don't believe it today. So I think we do need to take care of it. I think there are plenty of stocks there to feed the world but I think it's something that is very precious and needs to be very guarded. I firmly believe that the future is in closed cycle fish farming and open fish farming like we do, as long as you preserve the stocks of fish, as long as the stocks of fish are preserved.

Do you enjoy this work?

Yes, as long as I've been a captain of a boat since I was 18. I enjoy running the boat. This summer I ran the tuna boat to catch the fish. I feel as though I've been pretty successful with it, in my life. The only way you can be successful is to enjoy it, to like it. It's a challenge. Every trip's a challenge, everyday is a challenge, and that's how I look at it. It's a very clean, enjoyable life.