Season's first Pacific saury haul remains low

A fishing port in eastern Japan has landed the season's first haul of Pacific saury. But the amount of the first catch of the autumn delicacy was one of the smallest ever.

A fishing boat that returned from waters east of Hokkaido brought 17 tons of the fish to Choshi port in Chiba Prefecture on Monday morning.

The first haul was about 2 tons less, and came more than one month later, than last year.

Many of the sauries were mid-sized, weighing about 100 to 150 grams each. In auctions, they fetched about 5.5 to 6 dollars per kilogram, around the same high price as last year.

Choshi city officials say saury catches have been poor in recent years, and totaled only 476 tons last year.

They say soaring fuel prices are also adding to the difficulties of the local fishing industry.

A senior crew member, Tsujino Denjiro, said the catch was poor, but this year's sauries have good fat content.