International and National Problems in Fisheries Seabird By-Catch
Yamashina Institute for Ornithology
Large-scale international fisheries have seen many developments, including the adoption of 200-mile fishing limits by many countries, including Japan, between 1976 and 1977. On the North Pacific high seas, the use of neon flying squid and large-mesh driftnets is expanding rapidly. The many kinds and large numbers of nontargeted species caught in such driftnets, however, influenced world public opinion and the United Nations to prohibit driftnet fishing on the high seas in 1991. The investigation on the consequences of such driftnets have been often failed to be conducted in Japan, because Japan’s fisheries have been downsized. Japan’s fishing industry has not addressed this problem appropriately, even though the authorities have recommended that fishing fleets minimize by-catch. Japan has no legislation designating sea surface conservation for sealife, and fisheries by-catch have dramatically reduced the number of breeding seabirds in isolated habitats. The Japanese murrelet (Synthliboramphus wumizusume) of Miyazaki Prefecture and the common murre (Uria aalge) and the tufted puffin (Lunda cirrhata) of Hokkaido face a serious situation. The number of the spectacled guillemot (Cepphus carbo) living along Tohoku-Hokkaido coast has rapidly decreased due to by-catch fishing. Russia has legislation designating breeding places for seabirds and animals and designating surroundings as conservation areas. The Northern Territory adjoining Hokkaido thus has extremely diverse sea species. Japan has no corresponding legislation to succeed the Russian conservation legislation if Russia should return the Northern Territories to Japan.
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