Saving bluefin tuna in Japan. An unlikely goal? Never mind, WWF Japan is tackling the challenge. This week's events began with a press conference in Tokyo's Foreign Press Center (photo of venue, right). It was well-attended, one and a half hours long, and it featured many good questions from media based all over the world. I was present speaking for WWF International.
Next, a day-long symposium devoted to the tough issues of the biological and political status of Atlantic bluefin tuna (photo at left). Attendees included Masanori Miyahara, the Chief Counselor of the Fisheries Agency of Japan and Japan's head delegate to ICCAT and other international management bodies. He had some tough words for WWF and other critics of Japan. WWF representatives responded in a lively dialogue.
Press and consumers in attendance asked many probing questions, and the consumer outreach effort by WWF Japan has begun in earnest. Again, I was present on behalf of WWF International, and I had the opportunity to answer criticism that WWF is merely the voice of European views, unfairly blaming Japan. More later on the remarks of Miyahara-san and the discussion. Here's one news article from the Japan Times.
Then, a highlight of the visit, Tsukiji Fish Market. I have many photos to sort through and share, hopefully soon. Right in front of us was a 300 kg bluefin tuna ready for auction, and many other big tuna. Finally, breakfast in a Tsukiji sushi restaurant, lively already at 7am, featuring salmon eggs and more. What a great trip so far. Tokyo is interesting, our hosts from WWF Japan were indefatigable and gracious, and it's rewarding to tackle the big challenges of winning some support in Japan for bluefin tuna conservation.