Ban on Japan sought

Published: Wednesday 15 September 1999

australia said it was seeking an injunction to halt "experimental" fishing by Japan for southern bluefin tuna. Australia has accused Japan of using science to disguise commercial fishing and is seeking a declaration from the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea that the experimental fishing programme is illegal.

"Southern bluefin tuna is important to Australia and we will not sit back and allow the stock to be endangered by commercial fishing under the guise of science," attorney-general Daryl Williams said. The environmental group Greenpeace has campaigned against continued fishing for the southern bluefish tuna and called last year on Japan to ban the import of the fish, saying it was a critically endangered species.

Japan recently announced that it would resume the experimental fishing programme it began in 1998, despite censure from Australia and New Zealand, its partners in the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna. It says the programme will allow it to establish the size of the tuna stocks.

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