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Japanese Official: "We'll Ignore A Ban On Bluefin Tuna"

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Proving yet again that money trumps conservation, Japan’s top fisheries negotiator said in an interview with the NY Times, that the country will not honor any international ban on bluefin tuna under the United Nations treaty on endangered species. This, despite the fact that the species may be granted “most-endangered” status.

“It’s a pity,” he said, “but it’s a matter of principle.”

Yea, ok. More like a matter of dollars. Japan imports some 80% of the bluefin tuna caught in the Mediterranean. From Treehugger,

According to Miyahara, Japan feels that the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas – and not the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, referred to as CITES, should be the organization managing bluefin tuna catches. However, a formal proposal for a ban is scheduled to be presented at a Cites meeting next month in Doha, Qatar. “We don’t believe the bluefin tuna is endangered to that extent,” he said.

We’d love to know the definition of “extent” that Miyahara is referring to. According to scientists, at current fishing rates, the Atlantic bluefin will disappear in three years. How much more writing on the wall is necessary?

Such a collapse, coupled with the reluctance of Japan to engage in protective legislation, is why the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is turning their sights on stopping illegal bluefin fishing in the Mediterranean. “This is the economics and politics of extinction,” the organization said last month.

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