The EU and America are behind a proposal to ban trade in Atlantic bluefin tuna. It is the main focus of international convention on endangered species taking place in Dohar.
Stocks of the the fish are believed to have fallen by 80 per cent since 1970, and conservationists are pushing a ban.
However, this move is angering Japan, who blame poor fishing regulations and not their domestic demand.
Masanori Miyahara, Head of the Japanese Delegation, said: “It’s the problem of the European fishing industry. They are the ones who always opposed restrictions and now they want it. Nations whose fishing industries depend on trade can’t afford a ban.”
The Mediterannean is the main fishing ground, and several European countries have tuna fleets. As overfishing is now a major concern, a pause would allow stocks to recover.