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HOME  > Past issues  > 2013 April 24 - May 7  > 'Special fishery zone’ approved in defiance of local protest
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2013 April 24 - May 7 [ECONOMY]

'Special fishery zone’ approved in defiance of local protest

April 24, 2013
The Reconstruction Agency on April 23 approved the application for the nation’s first “special fishery zone” filed by the Miyagi Prefectural government without local consent, ignoring opposition from local fishermen.

In the special zone, private corporations can have fishing rights. Under the Fishery Law, local fishery cooperatives preferentially have the rights to engage exclusively in fishing for specific species in specific waters during a certain period of time.

Murai Yoshihiro, governor of disaster-hit Miyagi Prefecture, in May 2011 announced the plan to set up the special zone at a meeting of the governmental council on disaster reconstruction.

The establishment of the zone has long been demanded by the business circles. One month after the Miyagi governor’s announcement, the Japan Business Federation’s think tank released an urgent proposal demanding that regulations on fishery rights be eased so that private enterprises can enter local fishing businesses.

Since the announcement about the special zone plan, the Miyagi Prefectural Federation of Fishery Cooperatives has expressed its opposition by arguing, “As corporations have the tendency to search for short-term profits, they don’t care about the protection of fishery resources. Furthermore, they will abandon the local economy when they find more profits elsewhere.” In June 2011, the federation submitted to the prefecture a petition calling for withdrawal of the plan with signatures collected from 14,000 fishermen.

Japanese Communist Party member of the Prefectural Assembly Yokota Yuji said, “I’m angry about the Reconstruction Agency’s approval of the special zone. It is a challenge to fishermen who are struggling to revive the local fishery industry,” and expressed his determination to work hard to protect local fishing businesses.

Related past article:
> JCP Kami urges gov’t not to approve corporate fishery in disaster-hit area [April 11, 2013]
> ‘Special fishery zone’ will further hurt damaged local fishery [June 26-27, 2011]
> ‘Special zone’ scheme will destroy traditional fishing order based on sustainability[June 7,2011]
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