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Government of Japan: Don’t empty our oceans!

Government of Japan: Don’t empty our oceans!

Bangkok - Greenpeace activists today held a peaceful demonstration in front of the Japanese embassy to demand that the government of Japan vote in favour of the conservation of marine species at the 13th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (1).

“The government of Japan has historically sided with industry at this Convention, “ said Tim Birch of Greenpeace. “They must realise that if they don’t start saving marine life now by adopting sustainable fishing practices, they, and indeed all of us, will soon be faced with empty oceans.”

A dozen activists of various nationalities displayed a banner reading, Japan: Don’t empty our oceans! The activists wore “nemo” fish hats and delivered a letter to the ambassador of Japan highlighting the plight of the world’s oceans and Japan’s role in their exploitation.

During the second week of the CITES meeting being held in Bangkok, governments will vote on placing various marine species including the great white shark and humphead wrasse on Appendix II of the Convention. Greenpeace is also seeking to uphold the listing of Minke whales on Appendix I, which Japan has proposed to downlist to Appendix II. So far the Japanese government has spoken against these listings and has encouraged a number of other governments, including a number of countries from both the eastern Caribbean and Africa, to take a similar stance.

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation around 75% of the world’s fisheries are classified as fully exploited, overexploited, depleted or recovering from depletion. Recent scientific studies reveal that 90% of all large fish have disappeared from the world’s oceans in the past 50 years.

“The government of Japan continues to treat the world’s oceans as though there is no tomorrow. Their unsustainable fisheries industries are only looking out for their own interests and refuse to accept the fact that the seas are suffering from over-exploitation. They must vote to ensure that short-term profit does not continue to empty our oceans,” concluded Birch.

Greenpeace is an independent campaigning organisation that uses non-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems and to force solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future.

Notes to Editors:

(1) CITES is the Convention on international trade of endangered species and was established to regulate and control trade in endangered species. It provides three regulatory options in the form of Appendices. Animals and plants listed under Appendix I are excluded from international commercial trade except in very special circumstances. Commercial trade is permitted for species listed under Appendix II but it is strictly controlled on the basis of CITES permits or certificates. Appendix III includes species that are protected within the borders of a member country.

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