Japan’s Introduction from the Sea of Sei Whale Meat: the Breaking Point of CITES?

Erica Jayne Lyman, Olivier Jamin

Abstract


A cornerstone of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is the exertion of market control when a species’ biological status is put at risk by commercial demand. This is the crux of an Appendix I listing under CITES; once a species is listed on Appendix I it may not be imported or introduced from the sea in order to be used for primarily commercial purposes. As CITES has evolved and strengthened over its forty three-year history, the Parties have agreed specific compliance measures and policy initiatives targeted toward both building upon and supporting this cornerstone. And, yet, one decision at the upcoming Standing Committee puts at risk the reputation and integrity on which CITES stands.

Since 2002 Japan has introduced from the sea sei whales and sold the meat, blubber, and other products commercially in order to raise money to support its whaling operations. Because Japan does not have a reservation for the North Pacific population of sei whale, which is listed on Appendix I, Japan’s actions are in clear contravention of the Convention. The question is whether the Standing Committee is willing to hold Japan accountable for nearly 20 years of non-compliance in a demonstration of the integrity and reputation of the Convention or whether politics and power triumph.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11114/ijlpa.v1i1.3379

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International Journal of Law and Public Administration   ISSN 2576-2192 (Print)     ISSN 2576-2184 (Online)

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