Fisheries Agency

Tokyo, Japan

Fisheries Agency

Tokyo, Japan

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News Article | May 5, 2017
Site: www.undercurrentnews.com

Japan will likely face tough negotiations on Pacific bluefin tuna fishing this summer, when Pacific countries discuss new fishing restrictions, reports The Japan News. In August, member countries of the commission for the conservation and management of highly migratory fish stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPFC) will meet to negotiate new restrictions. Observers say the negotiations will be impacted by Japan's failure to limit catches. On April 27, Japanese fishermen’s catch of immature bluefin tuna reached 4,008 metric tons, topping the annual ceiling for the first time since the restriction was introduced. “Japan topped the limit, which will affect the negotiations,” a senior official of Japan's Fisheries Agency (FA) said. Toshio Katsukawa, associate professor at Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology said: “Japan failed to even observe the catch quota, which other countries called lenient. As a result, it’s now difficult for Japan to object to moves to strengthen restrictions." "Japan needs to review its system for having fishermen observe regulations.” Japan introduced international restrictions on fishing smaller bluefin tuna fish to increase stocks. This year, however, a series of illicit practices came to light, with some fishery operators failing to report their catches to fisheries cooperatives and unauthorized fishermen catching bluefin tuna. “We take this matter seriously,” an FA official said. “We’ll analyze the cause of the problem and take various preventive measures.” The FA plans to impose penalties for ignoring catch limits on the threatened fish from 2018 as part of efforts to seek understanding from the international community. Fishermen who ignore an order to stop tuna fishing would face up to three years of imprisonment or a fine of up to JPY 2 million ($17,740). Click here for the full story.


News Article | March 24, 2016
Site: www.techtimes.com

Japan has confirmed the killing of more than 300 whales, 200 of which were pregnant females during its latest whaling mission. The announcement was made as ships from Japan's Institute of Cetacean Research, which were in the Antarctic region since December 2015, returned Thursday from a "scientific" expedition, which the ICR claims is being done in the name of science. The Fisheries Agency said that the four-ship whaling fleet has returned to Shimonoseki in southwestern Japan having achieved the goal of taking 333 minke wales, 103 of which were males and 230 females. Of the mature females captured, 90 percent were pregnant. "The number of pregnant females is consistent with previous hunts, indicating that the breeding situation of minke whales in the Antarctic is healthy," the Fisheries Agency said in a statement. Japan's new quota is significantly fewer compared with its annual kill limit of 935 whales in the past. The reduction appears to have been influenced by criticisms and calls against the country's whaling practices. Eating whale is part of Japan's culture and the country has long claimed that most species of whale are not endangered. Its whaling practices though have long been a subject of criticism and its latest decision to conduct another whaling expedition is a defiance of the International Court of Justice ruling that declared the Antarctic whaling illegal. Many believe that Japan's whaling expeditions are not for scientific purpose. Australian Marine Conservation Society Director Darren Kindleysides said that international experts have examined Japan's so-called scientific research and found it was just a guise for killing whales. It appears, however, that the hunts are neither motivated by a market for whale meat. Although most of the meat from whale hunts ends up on shop shelves, many Japanese no longer eat them. Demand and consumption for whale meat per person has declined to just about 50 grams in 2005 from 2,000 grams in 1967 prompting shops in Japan to reduce the prices of whale meat by half in 2009 so as to move stockpiles. Japan plans to take nearly 4,000 whales for the next 12 years as part of its research program. It has also acknowledged looking forward for the resumption of commercial whaling.


News Article | September 2, 2016
Site: phys.org

The Pacific Ocean is the world's largest tuna fishing ground, accounting for almost 60 percent of the global catch. But supplies are dwindling and conservationists say urgent action is needed to ensure populations remain viable. The 10 participants "could not reach an agreement" on proposed regulation after five days of talks at the Northern Committee of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) annual conference, Japan's Fisheries Agency said in a statement. The partipants, which include Japan, China, the United States, Fiji, Vanuatu, Canada, South Korea, the Philippines, the Cook islands and Taiwan, agreed to the conference in the Japanese city of Fukuoka after sharp declines in bluefin tuna brood stock last year. Japan, which consumes roughly 70 percent of the global bluefin tuna haul, has suggested introducing cutbacks if stocks drop for three consecutive years. But the Japanese proposal was opposed by other participants at the meeting, including the US, that want tougher measures to protect the species, fisheries agency official Kazuya Fukaya told AFP. Fukaya added that the issue will be discussed again at the committee's next annual meeting in South Korea. Environmental groups expressed frustration over the stalemate, with Greenpeace calling it "extremely regrettable as the stock of Pacific bluefin tuna is in a state of emergency." "Japan, the world's largest consumer of bluefin tuna, bears the responsibility to strengthen domestic rules (on fishing)," Greenpeace said. The conservation group has proposed an immediate two-year moratorium on all commercial fishing. "The latest stock assessment for Pacific bluefin, released in 2016, found that the population has been heavily depleted to just 2.6 percent of its historic unfished size by nearly a century of overfishing," Greenpeace said in its proposal. Conservation group World Wide Fund for Nature has recommended the ten countries introduce a catch limit and adopt a long-term bluefin tuna recovery plan.


News Article | March 24, 2016
Site: phys.org

The ships had set sail for the Southern Ocean in December, with plans to kill 333 minke whales, despite a worldwide moratorium and opposition led by Australia and New Zealand. Japan insists it is carrying out scientific research. The 2015/16 hunt came after a hiatus prompted by a 2014 ruling by the United Nations' International Court of Justice, which said the annual hunt was a commercial venture masquerading as science. The fleet arrived early Thursday at Shimonoseki port in western Japan, an official at Japan's Fisheries Agency said, but declined immediately to provide further details, including on the size of the catch. Despite the moratorium and opposition from usually-friendly nations, Japan persists in hunting whales, using a loophole in the International Whaling Commission's 1986 ban on commercial whaling that allows for research. Tokyo claims it is trying to prove the whale population is large enough to sustain a return to commercial hunting, and says it has to kill the mammals to carry out its research properly. However, it makes no secret of the fact that whale meat ends up on dinner tables and is served up in school lunches. In response to the ICJ ruling, Japan's 2014-15 mission carried out only "non-lethal research" such as taking skin samples and doing headcounts. Japan has hunted whales for centuries, and their meat was a key source of protein in the immediate post-World War II years when the country was desperately poor. But consumption has dramatically declined in recent decades, with significant proportions of the population saying they "never" or "rarely" eat whale meat.


News Article | December 5, 2016
Site: phys.org

The organisation's flagship Steve Irwin departed for Antarctic waters along with fast new patrol vessel Ocean Warrior, built with financial support from the Dutch, British and Swedish lotteries. It has a powerful water cannon and is capable of outrunning the whalers, which an official at Japan's Fisheries Agency said would be protected by a fleet of patrol boats. "Sea Shepherd has engaged in repeated acts of sabotage over the years. Those actions threaten the lives of Japanese crew members and we cannot tolerate it," said the official, who declined to give his name. Japan has previously sought court action to halt the anti-whaling campaigns, saying the activists ram their ships, snare propellers with ropes and harass crew with paint and stink bombs. Sea Shepherd is embarking on its 11th campaign to disrupt the hunt, with the Japanese fleet setting sail on November 18 in defiance of a worldwide moratorium on commercial whaling and international opposition. "It's time that Japan respected the International Court of Justice... and the global moratorium on commercial whaling and ended their so-called scientific lethal hunting of whales off the Antarctic coast," said Sea Shepherd Australia chief Jeff Hansen. Japan is a signatory to the International Whaling Commission's moratorium in force since 1986. But it uses a loophole allowing for whales to be killed for the purposes of scientific research. Tokyo claims it is trying to prove the whale population is large enough to sustain a return to commercial hunting for a traditional source of food. But the meat from what it calls scientific research still ends up on dinner tables and is served up in school lunches. In 2014 the United Nations' International Court of Justice ordered Tokyo to end the Antarctic hunt, saying it found permits issued by Japan were "not for purposes of scientific research". After the ruling Japan cancelled its 2014-15 hunt, only to resume it the following year under a new programme with a two-thirds cut in the target catch number—saying the fresh plan is genuinely scientific. Explore further: Anti-whalers enlist fast ship to fight off Japanese


News Article | December 5, 2016
Site: www.theguardian.com

Two ships have left Australia bound for the freezing Southern Ocean to confront the Japanese whaling fleet in an annual high-seas battle, the environmental activist group Sea Shepherd has said. The organisation’s flagship, Steve Irwin, departed for Antarctic waters on Monday along with a fast new patrol vessel, Ocean Warrior, built with financial support from the Dutch, British and Swedish lotteries. It has a powerful water cannon and is capable of outrunning the whalers, which an official at Japan’s Fisheries Agency said would be protected by a fleet of patrol boats. “Sea Shepherd has engaged in repeated acts of sabotage over the years. Those actions threaten the lives of Japanese crew members and we cannot tolerate it,” said the official, who declined to give his name. Japan has previously sought court action to halt the anti-whaling campaigns, saying the activists ram their ships, snare propellers with ropes, and harass crew with paint and stink bombs. Sea Shepherd is embarking on its 11th campaign to disrupt the hunt. The Japanese fleet set sail on 18 November in defiance of a worldwide moratorium on commercial whaling and an international court ruling. “It’s time that Japan respected the International Court of Justice ... and the global moratorium on commercial whaling and ended their so-called scientific lethal hunting of whales off the Antarctic coast,” said Sea Shepherd Australia’s chief Jeff Hansen. Japan is a signatory to the International Whaling Commission’s moratorium in force since 1986. But it uses a loophole that allows whales to be killed for the purposes of scientific research. Tokyo claims it is trying to prove the whale population is large enough to sustain a return to commercial hunting for a traditional source of food. But the meat from what it calls scientific research still ends up on dinner tables and is served up in school lunches. In 2014 the United Nations’s international court of justice ordered Tokyo to end the Antarctic hunt, saying it found permits issued by Japan were “not for purposes of scientific research”. After the ruling Japan cancelled its 2014-15 hunt, only to resume it the following year under a new programme with a two-thirds cut in the target catch number, saying the fresh plan is genuinely scientific.


News Article | December 5, 2016
Site: www.sej.org

"Fast new patrol vessel built with Dutch, British and Swedish lottery funds aims to challenge Japan’s defiance of international court ruling on whaling". "Two ships have left Australia bound for the freezing Southern Ocean to confront the Japanese whaling fleet in an annual high-seas battle, the environmental activist group Sea Shepherd has said. The organisation’s flagship, Steve Irwin, departed for Antarctic waters on Monday along with a fast new patrol vessel, Ocean Warrior, built with financial support from the Dutch, British and Swedish lotteries. It has a powerful water cannon and is capable of outrunning the whalers, which an official at Japan’s Fisheries Agency said would be protected by a fleet of patrol boats."


News Article | March 25, 2016
Site: news.yahoo.com

Workers disembark from a whaling ship at the port of Shimonoseki in western Japan, on March 24, 2016 (AFP Photo/-) More Australia on Friday branded Japan's killing of 333 whales "abhorrent", saying there was no scientific justification for the Antarctic hunt. The Japanese fleet set sail for the Southern Ocean in December despite a worldwide moratorium and opposition led by Australia and New Zealand, using a loophole in the ban that allows for lethal research. On Thursday, Japan's Fisheries Agency announced enough whales had been killed for "scientific research" as the boats returned to port. "The Australian government opposes so-called 'scientific' whaling clearly, absolutely and categorically," Australian Environment Minister Greg Hunt said in comments emailed to AFP. "It is in my view abhorrent and a throwback to an earlier age... There is no scientific justification for lethal research." Japan was forced to abandon its 2014-15 hunt after the International Court of Justice said the expedition was a commercial activity masquerading as research. Hunt criticised Japan for going ahead with the killings "in spite of a resolution by the (International Whaling) Commission calling on it not to go whaling". Tokyo claims it is trying to prove the whale population is large enough to sustain a return to commercial hunting, but the meat still ends up on dinner tables and is served up in school lunches. Environmental activist group Sea Shepherd criticised the Australian and New Zealand governments, saying they had not done enough to stop the whaling. "The majority of Australians wanted the Australian government to send a vessel to oppose the slaughter. They did not," Sea Shepherd Australia's managing director Jeff Hansen said in a statement late Thursday. "The governments responsible for protecting these magnificent creatures stood by, in the complete knowledge that both federal and international crimes were taking place. "This empty response from authorities in the wake of the ICJ ruling is a disgrace." Some experts say that Japan's refusal to give up the Antarctic mission despite censure by the international court is largely due to a small group of powerful politicians.


News Article | March 25, 2016
Site: phys.org

The Japanese fleet set sail for the Southern Ocean in December despite a worldwide moratorium and opposition led by Australia and New Zealand, using a loophole in the ban that allows for lethal research. On Thursday, Japan's Fisheries Agency announced enough whales had been killed for "scientific research" as the boats returned to port. "The Australian government opposes so-called 'scientific' whaling clearly, absolutely and categorically," Australian Environment Minister Greg Hunt said in comments emailed to AFP. "It is in my view abhorrent and a throwback to an earlier age... There is no scientific justification for lethal research." Japan was forced to abandon its 2014-15 hunt after the International Court of Justice said the expedition was a commercial activity masquerading as research. Hunt criticised Japan for going ahead with the killings "in spite of a resolution by the (International Whaling) Commission calling on it not to go whaling". Tokyo claims it is trying to prove the whale population is large enough to sustain a return to commercial hunting, but the meat still ends up on dinner tables and is served up in school lunches. Environmental activist group Sea Shepherd criticised the Australian and New Zealand governments, saying they had not done enough to stop the whaling. "The majority of Australians wanted the Australian government to send a vessel to oppose the slaughter. They did not," Sea Shepherd Australia's managing director Jeff Hansen said in a statement late Thursday. "The governments responsible for protecting these magnificent creatures stood by, in the complete knowledge that both federal and international crimes were taking place. "This empty response from authorities in the wake of the ICJ ruling is a disgrace." Some experts say that Japan's refusal to give up the Antarctic mission despite censure by the international court is largely due to a small group of powerful politicians. Explore further: Japan to resume 'research' whaling in Antarctic: media


News Article | March 24, 2016
Site: www.reuters.com

The International Court of Justice ruled in 2014 that Japan's whaling in the Southern Ocean should stop, prompting it to call off its hunt that season, although it said at the time it intended to resume later. Japan then amended its plan for the next season to cut the number of minke whales it aimed to take by two-thirds from previous hunts. Its fleet set out in December despite international criticism, including from important ally the United States. The final ships of the four-vessel whaling fleet returned to Shimonoseki in southwestern Japan on Thursday, having achieved the goal of 333 minke whales, the Fisheries Agency said. Of these, 103 were males and 230 were females, with 90 percent of the mature females pregnant. "The number of pregnant females is consistent with previous hunts, indicating that the breeding situation of minke whales in the Antarctic is healthy," the agency said in a statement. Japan, which has long maintained that most whale species are not endangered and that eating whale is part of its culture, began what it calls "scientific whaling" in 1987, a year after an international whaling moratorium took effect. The meat ends up on shop shelves, although most Japanese no longer eat it. Japan intends to take nearly 4,000 whales over the next 12 years as part of its research program and has repeatedly said that its ultimate goal is the resumption of commercial whaling.

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