Japan’s ratification of agreement to curb illegal fishing ‘a critical step’, NGO says

Date: May 23, 2017

Source & Author: Undercurrent News

The Pew Charitable Trusts has praised the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)’s announcement that Japan has ratified the port state measures agreement, an international treaty designed to curb illegal fishing.

Japan represents one of the largest markets for fish imports, behind only the European Union and the United States. The ratification of the agreement signifies a critical step in Japan’s efforts to close its ports to illegal fishers, according to Pew.

The agreement, which has been ratified also by 47 other countries and the European Union, was adopted by FAO in 2009.

It is a vital tool in the global fight against illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, which accounts for up to $23.5 billion worth of seafood every year, said Pew.

“Illegal fishing undermines social, environmental, and economic security around the world, especially for developing countries whose economies rely heavily on seafood. Each year, up to 26 million [metric] tons of fish are stolen from our seas, or one in every five wild fish sold,” Tony Long, director of Pew’s ending illegal fishing project, said.

Japanese fishery production has been on the decline for the past few decades, making it more dependent on imports. Given Japan’s importance as both a fishing nation and consumer of seafood, its accession to the port state measures agreement is an important step toward eliminating it both as a market and opportunity to land seafood that has been caught illegally, Long also said.

Japan imports about half of the seafood it consumes. This ratification can give Japanese consumers additional assurance that the government is committed to ensuring that the fish they buy has been caught legally—and help protect the country’s domestic fisheries, Long added.

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