International Marine Environment Symposium Tokyo    


© Greenpeace/Masaya Noda

Who would have thought that prominent conservationists and leading members of Japan's fishing industry could come together under the banner "Marine Reserves for Sustainable Sushi? Or that one of the speakers used to represent Japan on whaling issues? Or that Greenpeace Japan would be behind the whole event? It's a strange world we live in.

All this happened just a few days ago - on Friday 17th October, at the International Marine Environment Symposium, held at the United Nations University in Tokyo. Speakers included biologist Daniel Pauly who talked about the "transformation of seascapes by fisheries and the need for marine protected areas"; former Japanese Fisheries Agency officer and whaling commissioner Masayuki Komatsu, who spoke about the future of Japan's fisheries; and Japanese Tuna fisherman, Tatsushi Sasaki. Mr Komatsu discussed the ongoing decline of Japanese marine industries, and the reluctance of Japanese fisheries to keep pace with changes occurring in marine biodiversity. He emphasised that a fundamental reform of Japan's fishing industry is need, if Japan wants to sustain its fisheries. Daniel Pauly Daniel Pauly. © Greenpeace/Masaya Noda

Also appearing were Ellen K. Pikitch from the Pew Institute for Ocean Science, who gave a talk on "The ecosystem approach to an environmentally sound and sustainable fish stock management"; Callum Roberts, marine conservation biologist with the Environment Department at the University of York who reported on "marine reserves: restoring the viability of oceans and fisheries" Yasuyuki Yamamoto, of the Aeon Topvalu supermarket chain, explained how his company's corporate identity is based on the concept sustainability and food safety, and how corporations can live up to their responsibilities to protect marine biodiversity. Masayuki Komatsu Masayuki Komatsu. © Greenpeace/Masaya Noda Other speakers included Anton Jimwereiy of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency, Eugene Pangelinan, Micronesian Deputy Director of Fisheries, Kazuhiko Wada of fish importers Kamewa Shoten, and Arata Izawa, sustainable fisheries expert.

For Greenpeace, oceans campaigner Wakao Hanaoka took the podium, and sent this report:

The symposium audience of more than 200 delegates was made up people from major corporations, institutions, government, media, and even from whaling company Kyodo-Senpaku!Most speakers, including Komatsu-san and Sasaki-san (a line and pole fisherman) agreed that establishment of Marine Reserves MRs and the proper regulation of over-fishing were key to solving the overfishing issue within Japan waters. There's also been lots of positive comments and plenty of support for Greenpeace's work within Japan from the speakers, during the panel-discussion.


Local line and pole fishermen, Tsukiji wholesalers, and many others that I met, all felt it was their life-duty to ensure that the next generation could inherit ocean-related jobs, just as they inherited from their parents. As someone was there to represent an environmental Non-governmental organisation rooted in Japan, I would like to support their work.

I felt from the heated mood of audiences that protecting the ocean environment around Japan is an urgent matter. My conviction, that establishing Marine Reserves and promoting sustainable fisheries with fisheries-related people is possible, was confirmed on Friday.

The fact that the venue for the symposium was packed shows how urgent the protection of our oceans has become. I am convinced that we can work with al those who are concerned with fisheries in Japan for sustainable fisheries. We all want fish for tomorrow - and that's why we need marine reserves today."

You may not know - here at Greenpeace we're advocating the creation of an properly enforced network of global marine reserves, that would see 40% of the world's oceans protected. Elsewhere, regulated, sustainable fishing would be allowed. This is the long-term solution to overfishing and the recovery of marine life in our overexploited oceans. More about the symposium, the speakers and downloadable versions of their talks »


Marine Reserves: Roadmap to Recovery »

Originally posted by Dave at Greenpeace International