The government in Japan has decided not to adopt international rules on the trade in sharks, according to an official’s statement released on Friday. Japan has chosen instead a status quo despite an international effort to protect the predators.
The country is filing a “reservation” about the regulation under the 178-member Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), to restrict cross-border trade in the oceanic whitetip, the porbeagle and three types of hammerhead shark, the international press reports.
“It is the Japanese government’s position that the species should be managed under the existing management bodies,” said a Japanese official.
Japan and China, both of them seeing shark fin soup as a delicacy, opposed to the regulations in March at a Bangkok convention, but the rest of the world overwhelmed the Asian nations by greatly supporting the measure.
The global number of sharks has reduced drastically over the last decades, with dozens of species being under threat. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), humans kill about 100 million sharks each year, mostly for their fins. Over the past 100 years, 90 percent of the world’s sharks have disappeared, mostly because of overfishing, the FAO says.
Japan has been criticized for a long time by maritime conservationists for its wale hunting programmes carried out for „scientific purposes”, as Tokyo claims. However, Japan makes no secret that the whale meat is consumed in restaurants and commercialized in supermarkets.