by Michael dEstries
Categories: Animals.


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.

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

View all posts by Michael dEstries →
  • alex burns

    so sad.. something needs to be done

    • no maru is a good maru

      I’m afraid boycotts of Japanese products is a last resort needed here…

  • Kimitake Hiraoka


    You have either deliberately or negligently mis-reported the New York Times article you referenced. For some reason, you have sought to smear Japan by neglecting to mention the clarification:

    “… Japan believed that a different organization, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, known as ICCAT, should manage bluefin tuna catches and protection.”

    Why did you do that?

    And why is it that “enviromentalist” extremists feel the need to deceive when it comes to pursuing their agenda?

    This behaviour comes close to the despicable ways of that degenerate liar, Paul Watson.

    Please amend the article accordingly, Michael. If you truely believe that yours is a righteous cause, you needn’t stoop to Sea Shepherd’s level.

    • sidewinder

      ahh Kimitake, Japanese PR man.

      Just shows Japan is taking all it can get and has zero interest in conservation. Keep the Sushi coming at any cost.

      What will we do when we have raped the ocean and taken the last fish or whale?

    • Michael d'Estries


      Did you read the article? I did mention that in the quote from Treehugger.

      Still doesn’t change the fact that Japan is ignoring the reality of the plight of the Bluefin tuna.

    • come si come sa


      Degenerate liar?

      Geez fella, got a bit of a chip on your shoulder there. What is with the strong emotive langauge?

      Giving it to Paul Watson at any opportunity?

      You reek of Pro-whaling Propaganda. Are you even Japanese or just another PR ICR/Fisheries puppet?

      Trash talker…

    • Kimitake Hiraoka

      Apologies, I missed the quotation from Treehugger.

      Regardless, I maintain that the article is inflammatory and misleading in tone.

      Particularly the by-line which reads: Even if labeled “most endangered”, Japan says hunt would continue as “matter of principle”.

      This is quoted out of context and is objectively misleading.

      It is undeniable that the issue of Blue Fin Tuna is being grossly mismanaged. I do not deny that Japan is a large factor in this mismanagement. However, there are many nations contributing to the mismanagement including Australia which accounts for a disproportionate share of the harvest. The silence from the Sea Shepherd thugs is deafening in this regard.

      The Blue Fin Tuna issue makes one realise how irrelevant the fuss over whaling truly is. That Sea Shepherd uses the non-issue of whaling to generate its huge funding at the expense of publicity for an endangered species such as the Blue Fin Tuna is utterly despicable.

      Perhaps Ecorazzi could seek to redress this absurdity by providing balanced and rational coverage of real conservation issues instead of sprouting propaganda for attention seeking thugs?

      • agent orange

        Yeah good work Kimitake as usual…troll

  • billy jean is my lover

    No surprises there. Japan does whatever it pleases and does not respect laws or quotas. Perhaps import bans on Japanese made products might make them sit up and take notice. The almighty Yen is king.

  • Gavin MacQueen

    What is with the japanese lately? First, the senseless slaughter of whales, disregard for the plight of the bluefin tuna, now we’re hearing that they have put the almighty yen before human life in regards to the manufacturing of their automobiles.

    It’s shameful…


    • whiplash

      Very true Gavin. No doubt the Pro-whaling / fisheries lobby will be in over drive pumping out the propaganda to justify it all…

  • Pingback: Japanese Official: “We’ll Ignore A Ban On Bluefin Tuna” « Ocean Roots()

  • ddpalmer

    Looks like the Sea Shepherd’s in the Med is on.

    Wonder if they will get the same treatment that Greenpeace did? I bet those lead fishing net weights hurt a lot more than a water cannon or LRAD.