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TOKYO, Japan (July 30, 1999 – PACNEWS/Kyodo News)---In a dispute with Japan over southern blue fin tuna, Australia is considering a proposal that would list the species as an endangered animal.

Australia is studying inclusion of the fish in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES), convention sources said.

The proposal is to list blue fin tuna under Appendix 2 of CITES, commonly known as the Washington Convention.

Those who want to export animals listed in this appendix need to obtain approval from their governments.

Trade in animals listed in Appendix 1 is completely prohibited.

Australia is likely to make a formal listing proposal during a conference of CITES signatories that is scheduled to be held in Kenya in April 2000, the sources said.

Some other countries, including the United States, already are reported to have already shown interest in the proposal.

About 95 per cent of the world catch of southern blue fin tuna goes to Japan, where large southern blue fin tuna often are priced in the millions of yen.

The fish is usually eaten raw as sushi or in sashimi.

Japan’s longstanding dispute with Australia and New Zealand over tuna fishing intensified after Japan began catching more blue fin tuna on June 1, following an impasse in talks over catch quotas.

Japan’s Fisheries Agency said the country plans to catch some 2,000 tons of the tuna through the end of August in international waters around Australia, as part of its research into the size of the species' population.

Australia and New Zealand announced on July 16 that they had simultaneously begun arbitration proceedings against Japan at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in Hamburg, Germany, over the tuna dispute.


MELBOURNE, Australia (July 31, 1999 – Radio Australia)---Australia and New Zealand have taken Japan to the International Tribunal on Law of the Sea over its fishing for southern blue fin tuna in the South Pacific Ocean.

Both countries want Japan banned from fishing for the tuna species over and above the quotas set in 1993.

Tokyo has described the fishing as scientific and experimental but Australia and New Zealand say it has only commercial value, warning continued Japanese fishing will wipe out the southern blue fin tuna in the South Pacific.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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