Haul of 'cherry blossom' sea bream up from 2023

It's cherry blossom season across much of Japan, and for fishing crews in Kagoshima Prefecture that's the cue to cast their nets for the red sea bream coming in to spawn off Japan's southwestern coast.

The migratory fish gather off Hioki City in the East China Sea. In spring time they're referred to as "sakura-dai," meaning cherry blossom sea bream. That's because they turn a vibrant pink before breeding.

Fishing crews sort the catch by weight then put the fish into large tanks to keep them alive.

The local fisheries cooperative says this year's fish are typically rich with fat. They say the haul in March was about 30 percent more than a year ago.

Nagayama Yuya, a fishery cooperative official said: "At this time of year, when the sea bream are migrating through open seas, their flesh is firm, fatty and delicious. It makes for excellent sashimi."

The "sakura-dai" fishing season continues until mid-April.