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March 5, 2010
Japanese government says it would defy bluefin tuna ban

Frozen bluefin tuna ready for auction at Tsukiji Market. Photo: Flickr user Hashashin

Japan says it will defy any ban on trade in Atlantic bluefin tuna. Conservation groups say the fish is at risk of extinction if current catch rates continue.

While the U.S. announced its support of a ban this week, the fish is prized for high-end sushi in Japan, where 80 percent of the fish ends up.

An international conference on endangered animals and plants will vote on giving the tuna endangered status at a meeting that begins next weekend.

If Japan defied a ban on trading an endangered species, what would be an appropriate international response?

Tell us what you think in the comments section below. Please be respectful and on-point. Malicious or offensive comments will be deleted, and repeat offenders will be banned.




#54]..Great idea, let’s start with boycotting …TOYOTA Cars !


OK if Japan wants to defy the rest of the world , let the rest of the world boycott Japanese products. I think this has to be started in the West , Asian countries are too weak and too GDP orientated to strat the process.


In response to Pirl Harbour: You mean US has a monopoly to “scold”? Did the so called International community sanction the mass killing by cluster, smart bombs, depleted uranium, & F16’s
in exterminating non-whites in the Middle East and Japan cannot fish for the “beautiful blue fins”? are you human at all?


In response to Celticman’s childish trolling, let me ask him…did US and their lapdog Brit ask UN for invading Iraq and Afghanistan? with thousands of innocents killed and maimed…where are and where were the UN. It’s a toothless toy of the west to bully the weak and the helpless.


So they should, why should they be dictated upon what to eat. Can they tell those idiots what to put
in their burgers? Go Japan go…eat what you wish and don’t listen those “holier than thou” loosers!!


Having read every comment i feal the most sensible thing is to have the U.S. take the lead and go to the un and get a resolution and if they defy that, then Fine them Hundreds of Thousends of $$ a day and yes Boy cott them starting with exports of their cars to the U..S.We can do this people put pressure on congress it works write,e-mail,call them it really dose work, so i challange all of you who really care to contact your Senetor and House rep and lets get this wave going!


The U.S Should take the lead on this and insist that Japan be fined $100.000 a day, and the same should be aplied to their whale Killing! p.s. We could also hit them with a very high tarrif on Toyota runaway cars. The only thing people understand these Days is the wallet$$$$$$$$


wordfocus Thanks ! for be true in that work of jurnalism ! thanks !


The international community (the UN) should declare Japan an enemy of the environment and sent an international fleet of ships to stop this outrage. Then follow through with warnings to other nations to cooperate globally to stop the death of our planet. This take priority over everything else. Next to control the of population over growth. Set in motion the strategies to set forth the Malthusian social theory. The only way to stop this growing madness is lessen the stress human life has imposed on the planet.

Third yet most important, educate, educate, educate. Get rid of religion which has been the opiate that keeps us from opening our eyes to the truth. There is only this life and there are no angels or virgins waiting anywhere for any of us. Stop the madness.


The sad fact is that around the world the oceans are dying. Many national marine conservation groups, somewhere around three years into the project, have resorted to collecting coral species and freezing them in liquid nitrogen; because, the world coral reefs will all be extinct within 20 to 30 years. Worldwide ocean stocks have declined more than 85% and are on the verge of collapse. When the polar ice sheets melt the entire ecosystem of those regions, which depends on allege growing beneath the ice, will collapse. The oceans have been used as the worlds sewers and the damage we have done is irreparable. The Blue Fin must be saved as our first step in one final attempt to save the worlds oceans, Japan must be made to both understand and adopt the importance of this stand or be isolated from the rest of the world. No longer is there “plenty of fish in the oceans.”


Extinction of the blue fin tuna is sadly just one of many environmental outrages. We could boycott Japanese products, and they could boycott our products for poisoning the oceans with all the chemical fertilizers we flush into the ocean causing algae blooms and dead zones, then we could all boycott Brazil for cutting down the rain forests. Lets just have everybody boycott everybody else.


Speaking only for myself, I hated this whaling in the name of science con game that Japan has been doing over two decades now. I stopped watching Japaneese cartoons and Film as a result. Maybe not the most effective ban or boycott thing to do, but it was all I could think of.


Economic sanctions? How can we impose economic sanctions against a country that holds a large percentage of our foreign debt? Get Real!!
We Americans have indebted ourselves out of world economic power. The Chinese now feel entitled to scold us for meeting with the Dalai Lama! Why? Because, we owe them money. The Chinese and the Japanese hold a large portion of our national debt!


The Japanese government will continue to do what it wants as long as they are confident that the global community is incapable of making and enforcing any of it’s decisions. It would take military force to stop their overfishing of tuna and murdering of whales.


Its possible that a type of aqua culture may be possible within the confines of one or two japanese bays. A Blue Finn population could be established which feeds of the processed corpses of dead Japanese. That way and endless cycle of Food would be available to Japanese consumers.
Sounds morbid ? There are numerous stories of Japanese Farmers using actual human remains in their farming operations.


It is unfortunate that an educated, wealthy highly developed country like Japan cannot control its culinary greed for foods that are at risk of extinction. Hopefully, the documentary The Cove will prevail at the Oscars and Hollywood media coverage will pressure the Japanese people to reconsider their actions and attitudes. Don’t buy Japanese products.


The Japanese and Asian Fishing Fleets have for years poached and overfished the world’s oceans and driven African and Americas populations to resort to piracy and “Bush Meat” for sustenance. All poaching fishing fleets must be arrested or sunk. The defiant, overfishing Nations must be compelled to reduce their unsustainable populations.


Well the good news is that due to its below replacement birthrate Japan its self will be extinct soon so dont worry too much about the tuna
because they’ll outlive the Japanese anyway!


Although I like Japanese culture, but I compeletely disagree about their killing of these lovely marine creatures. I feel strongly that it is a merely a selfish behavior of Japanese government toward the world.


Common Japan, really? Common the rest of the world, really? Japan NEEDs or would like the blue fin, the world would like the blue fin to NOT BE EXTINCT… why don’t we get this??? Here’s the answer – either Japan agrees to fish in balance with nature, meaning there will always be more blue fin than before fishing or Japan loses their right to fish. END OF STORY.


Japan is often defiant in the face of international criticism, particularly of its whaling industry. But whatever they argue about whaling, Atlantic tuna is surely not a traditional food source for a Pacific island! I hope they will decide against waging another pitched battle against ocean conservation. Should they do so, sanctions seem like the only answer. Money talks.


As all international issues, this is a complicated one. Having lived in Japan, I understand the culture and the love for fish..albeit certain fish which have been a huge part of their diet (as much as beef is to the US). With immediate attention and collaboration with the Japanese government with campaigns and enforce anti-overfishing regulations, we should be able to maintain the tuna population for the next 5-10 years. But without passing a law prohibiting (strictly fining – and regulating private fishermen) the overfishing of tuna, this species may be yet another sad story of the damage we are causing to this earth.


Stop buying exports from japan. any exports. soon they will be too poor to buy Bluefin tuna.


I think we should continue to persuade Japan in realizing how serious the extinction of this species would be.


Hit them in their pocket book my imposing signifcant trade sanctions against their major exports.


Encourage a world-wide boycott of all Japanese goods. If they ignore a ban on bluefin tuna fishing, that will be strike three against them: killing protected whales, killing “inconvenient” dolphins as shown in the current documentary film The Cove, and overfishing the bluefin.


Boycott all japanese brand products.


Boycott Iceland and Norway as well.


First whales, now tuna. I think a boycott of Japanese goods would be a fitting response to such arrogance and selfishness.


Boycott Japanese goods, not only for tunas sake but also for hunting whales.


All numbers indicate that the world currently already has many more people than can be kept alive in a sustainable way. Even with the current world population at their current wealth distribution (with about 5 Billion of the 6.5 Billion people living at or below $ 2 / day) we have already been depleting the world oceans of fish and other life.
Using continuously more efficient technological means to catch the last bits of remaining fish, we get closer and closer to eradication of not only a few fish species but of complete ecosystems. This situation will rapidly get worse with China and India getting richer.
We either have to chose for most of us living at a much lower standard of living, or to have a much smaller (say ½ or ¼) world population. Since both are hard to “sell” it will probably be a combination of the two and even then we may not succeed.
In any case, for humans as a species to survive even on the medium time scale (say 100 to 200 years) we will have to prevent the eradication of ecosystems starting with serious protection of species. Just like in many protected parks and nature reserves on land (Africa, China), where park rangers have the duty to stop poachers and are authorized to shoot and kill if so needed, and similar policies need to be implemented for the oceans.
The worlds Navies should be tasked with doing so and we will have standoffs like the Brits had with Iceland about fishing rights twenty years ago. It will have to be more serious in the near future. Fishing ships not cooperating should be treated like pirates and sunk. And Yes, it will most likely lead to some (hopefully only) small wars. That is too bad but cannot be prevented.
A much larger problem is the vastness of oceans. Even now it is almost impossible to patrol the ocean off East Africa for pirates. To patrol the words oceans for illegal fishing will require satellite searching and unmanned drone patrolling on a massive scale as well as a rapid reaction sea and air forces. We may need to contract a new wing of Blackwater Security Consulting forces to help us out doing this.


Take a hard stance!


Enough is enough! The Japanese are intelligent and educated people. They cannot continue to bully their way around the world’s opinion and do as they please. They know full well what they are doing. I agree with other comments. Boycott Japanese goods, starting with their cars(as much as I love them and I have one)! That WILL hurt!


I tend to agree with Kerry Masterson’s comments above. I too lived in Japan for about two years and fould the Japanese people very polite, but also very defiante to restrictions concerning their apetite for whale meat and other endangered apecies of fish and wildlife.


Bluefin tuna are not a vital necessity to the
Japanese diet — it’s a choice they make and
they certainly wouldn’t die if they didn’t eat
those tuna.
I think the commonsense, concerned countries should impose harsh monetary response towards
Japan’s economic situation — not exactly sure
what that would include, but somehow $$$$ speaks
loudest in every country and we should show
Japan their defiance brings negative results.


If Japan defies an internationally-approved ban on trading in an endangered species, it should be condemned for doing so by the UN General Assembly, and the international community should impose restrictions on trade with Japan. The Japanese nation has already been widely criticized for its continuing whale hunts, which it justifies on the transparently ludicrous grounds that it is conduction “research.”


Essentially similar to pollution, the common commodity whether a fish, clean air or water, is enjoyed but not governed on a planetwide basis. Resolution of these issues will always be about as effective as we are regulating nuclear weapons… I am pessimistic of any rational resolution.


Since we got stuck with asian catfish being sold to us as grouper in Florida and most couldn’t tell the difference. I think it is time time to see if they are as sophisticated as they think they are.


Only major international sanctions or some device to make Japan lose face will make them even think about desisting from whaling and extermination of the tuna. The trouble is that they don’t seem to be as concerned about losing face as they were when they had more pride than defiance.


Time to boycot all Japanese products, IMO.

As to whaling (for “research”) they should be ridiculed — a there are now adequate pharmaceuticals for their flagging sex lives.


Yes, how dare Japan not do as we order them? Don’t they know that the U.S. rules the planet and whatever we say goes? Nevermind that in this, as in most things, we are being hypocritical – Japan needs to toe the line and do as we say!

Or perhaps we Americans can get off our high horses just this once…. but nah. That would never happen.


About all that could be done is to have a security council resolution condemning Japan for it’s failure to live up to its obligations. If that fails then placing a tariff on some Japanese goods might work. I think they will come around, but not unless they think we are serious.


Didn’t we learn our lesson 1941-1945? Nothing has changed–the State Shinto mentality is the same.


In order to stop Japan from exterminating the blue fin tuna population ,economic sanctions should be taken only if Japan thumbs its nose at the world community


The US should offer an equal environmentally-positive sacrifice (stop driving SUVs?) and then demand that the Japanese give up blue fin tuna sushi.


How dare Japan to refuse to abide by global responsibility to prevent the extinction of tuna, all Japan has to do is pass a 5 year ban on harvesting tuna to allow species reproduction to normal levels.


No people have the right to drive another species to extinction. Should Japan again defy [whales] international law perhaps the law should be enforced by stopping their vessels at sea.


To teach Japan a lesson, the rest of the world should learn to mind their own business. With all the problems they have at home, especially the US, maybe their time and effort would best be spent there.


How is it that the ancient countries that claim to be one with the earth and all life that exist in it.Turnout to be the ones who decimate it,by hunting every species to to point of extinction. Tuna is not alone in this plight,sharks for their fins,rhinos for their horns,and on an on an on what ever the reason.


once a limit has been instituted then all ships should be monitored and if found over fined or seize the ship itself.


If Japan defies the ban, the citizens of the world should stop buying Japanese goods.


[We should live in such a way as to cause the least amount of pain and suffering to other living beings] Japan hurts tuna. Japan get bad karma. Japan gets a shake-up (earthquake). Just watch!!!


Green Peace has the right idea to try and ram the Japanese ships. I think its time the world Navies, and I do include the US Navy declaired unrestricted submarine warefare on the Japanese whale-ing fleet. You must admit they would make good targets. The ignorant selfish people of Japan have already killed off most of the fish in the oceans using the most advance fishing technoligies, and now they will kill of the rest of the oceans species– if we let them. If the japanese people need somthing to eat, let them eat non-endanged species. Blue fin tuna should also be protected aginst the selfish Japanese consumers. I lived in Japan for several years and one thing about the Japanese cultore was very clear. If you were not Japanese, you were not accepted as their equals. Perhaps they feel that they are entitled above all else to the last remaining Whales. Like I said their boats would make good targets.


Japan must change its dependence on endangered sea animals. Knowing this level of consumption is unsustainable, what do they want, an empty ocean?


That is a selfish behavior the japanese government has, but it’s not a surprise. Japanese are not not very willing to compromise when it comes to sacrifice their indulgences. Not a team player as it has been shown for their reluctance to stop their whaling activities. I imagine they must feel entitled to do as they please with this planet; the others can go to hell.

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