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Bluefin Tuna Highly Endangered According to Japanese Expert

May 31, 2010

Bluefin Tuna Highly Endangered According to Japanese Expert

Japanese Fishing expert Masayuki Komatsu admits Japan made a mistake on Bluefin tuna. The Bluefin tuna should have been listed as endangered by CITES according to Komatsu.

In an interview with Asahi News, Komatsu stated:

“I wish to stress once again the importance of advancing discussions and making decisions based on scientific data. In that sense, the decision concerning the Bluefin tuna was regrettable. When the conference of the parties to the Washington Treaty (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) met in March, it rejected a proposal to ban international trade of the Atlantic Bluefin tuna with the objections of Japan and other countries.  

But I believe Japan should have cooperated with the European Union and the United States to strengthen the regulation. Generally speaking, whale resources are abundant although there are differences among species. While the minke whale has a green light above it, the fin whale has a yellow light, for example. But a red light is flashing over the Bluefin tuna, whose populations have dwindled as a result of overfishing.

Banning the Bluefin tuna trade may appear disadvantageous to Japan in the short term, but if we develop policy based on scientific grounds, we can win trust of the international community in the end. The principle of sustainable use also applies to abundant whales.”

Komatsu wants to increase the whaling quota because he believes that minke whale can replace Bluefin tuna at sushi restaurants.

He said that the quality of whale meat is poor because it is the by-product of “scientific research whaling”.  In the interview he said:

“The meat does not sell because it is expensive and of poor quality. When you look at whale meat sold in the market, you notice a red, blood-like juice oozing from it. The juice that makes the meat tasty drained because cell membranes were broken when the meat was frozen. This is because the temperature can only be lowered to 30 degrees below zero on whaling ships. Since tuna is quick-frozen to minus 70 degrees, cell membranes remain intact. In whaling, too, new ships should be built so that the meat can be quick-frozen for better quality. I am sure it would drastically change the awareness of consumers. Whale meat could be used as a sushi ingredient in place of tuna.”

Komatsu wants a new whaling factory ship built and the whaling fleet modernized. He wants an increase in whale kills to over 2,000 whales in the Southern Ocean. He continued:

“When the number of catches is increased, costs can be lowered and tasty whale meat can be supplied at lower prices.”

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is presently preparing our ships for a return to the Southern Ocean in 2010/2011 in what will be called Operation No Compromise. Our objective is to once again cut whale quotas in half or more, to cost the whaling fleet their profit, and to keep the crimes of the Japanese whaling fleet in the public light via the media.

“We will continue to oppose, intervene, obstruct, harass, and discourage Japanese whaling operations in the Southern Ocean until the Japanese whaling fleet is driven from the waters of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary forever. We oppose the killing of any whale of any species within the boundaries of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary without exceptions by any nation for any reason, scientific or commercial,” said Captain Paul Watson.

Watson added, “We are glad to hear that Komatsu agrees with our position on the endangered status of the Bluefin tuna. Our question to him is: what do you intend to do about it? If you believe that the Bluefin tuna is endangered how can you (Komatsu) not use your influence to ban the sale of Bluefin tuna in Japan?”


 

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