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Japan to hold consultations amid Russia’s ban on drift-net fishing

July 03, 2015, 8:58 UTC+3 TOKYO
Russian President Vladimir Putin inked the law banning drift-net fishing from January 1, 2016 on Wednesday. The measure applies to both domestic and foreign ships
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© AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko

TOKYO, July 3. /TASS/. The Japanese government has made a decision to hold urgent consultations with local fisheries representatives amid Russia’s move to sign a law banning drift-net fishing.

Russian President Vladimir Putin inked the law banning drift-net fishing from January 1, 2016 on Wednesday. The measure applies to both domestic and foreign ships.

"We will urgently discuss this situation and the necessary measures with the representatives of this sphere on the island of Hokkaido," Japan’s Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Yoshimasa Hayashi told a news conference on Friday.

A representative of Japan’s fisheries department also said on Friday that the consultations near Hokkaido’s Nemuro, the center of drift-net fishing, will focus on the possible switch to other ways of catching salmon in Russia’s exclusive economic zone.

The speaker of Russia’s upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, Valentina Matviyenko said last week the law was not aimed against Japan and recommended that the Japanese partners should fish in a more civilized manner in Russian waters.

The representatives of Japan’s government said on Thursday they regret Russia’s move. "Drift-net fishing is one of the key areas in the economy of Hokkaido. The effect of the ban will be serious," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said.

Drift-net fishing is the fishing by floating drift-nets, nicknamed "walls of death". They are 30 meters wide, 12 high and many kilometers long. The nets are set on migration ways of tuna, salmon, whales and other migratory animals. Fish juveniles get wounds and die after passing through cells of drift-nets. Birds and marine mammals die, too.

The ban on drift-net fishing has alarmed Japanese fishing companies. In 2014, a total of 35 Japanese fishing boats were using drift-nets to fish for Pacific salmon in Russia’s exclusive economic zone.

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