Press Statement

Statement: New Law in Japan Will Increase Seafood Transparency and Help Combat Illegal Fishing Around the World

The Stimson Center’s Environmental Security program congratulates the Japanese Diet for taking a major step to stop illegally caught fish from entering its market.

The Stimson Center’s Environmental Security program congratulates the Japanese Diet for taking a major step to stop illegally caught fish from entering its market.  With today’s passage of the “Domestic Trade of Specific Marine Animals and Plants Act,” Japan joins the United States and Europe in their efforts to combat Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing through enhanced seafood traceability.

Sally Yozell, Director of the Stimson Center’s Environmental Security Program said:

“Being able to track seafood from harvest to landing is a significant step in deterring illegal fish from entering the global market. This law will help level the playing field for honest fishermen and women around the world and offers confidence to consumers that the fish they buy at the grocery store is legally harvested. Further it undermines the criminal networks engaged in illegal fishing.

The U.S., Japan, and the European Union together are about sixty percent of the global seafood market. Japan joining the U.S. and Europe by expanding seafood traceability and fishing transparency will act as a significant deterrent to preventing IUU fish from entering global markets.  I applaud the Japanese Diet for this step and hope their action will serve as a model to pressure other major markets in the Pacific region such as China and South Korea to follow their lead.”

Stimson Center scholars provided advice and support to the Japan Anti-IUU forum, a coalition of nongovernmental advocacy organizations in Tokyo, and the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries as they crafted this new law and will continue to support their efforts moving towards implementation.

The IUU fishing industry is complex. It is valued at over $36 billion annually and accounts for twenty to fifty percent of the global catch. IUU fishing undermines the sustainable management of fisheries resources and depletes fish stocks, undercuts law-abiding fishermen and women by robbing natural resources and lowering market prices. IUU fishing is also closely linked to transnational organized crime: piracy, the trafficking of people, narcotics, and weapons, and money laundering. As fishery resources are depleted world-wide, IUU fishing threatens the food security, economic livelihoods, and stability of coastal developing states around the world.

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The Stimson Center promotes international security, shared prosperity & justice through applied research and independent analysis, deep engagement, and policy innovation.‌ For three decades, Stimson has been a leading voice on urgent global issues. Founded in the twilight years of the Cold War, the Stimson Center pioneered practical new steps toward stability and security in an uncertain world. Today, as changes in power and technology usher in a challenging new era, Stimson is at the forefront: Engaging new voices, generating innovative ideas and analysis, and building solutions to promote international security, prosperity, and justice.

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