IKAN places high hopes on Biodiversity Basic Act

IKAN welcomes the enactment of the Biodiversity Basic Act and believes it is an important and very positive step forward in protecting nature, the basis for the health and welfare of all living creatures, including human beings.

Historically, Japan has not had comprehensive laws and enforcement powers to use in the protection of wild life.

IKAN expects that this new Act will serve as an umbrella law by protecting wild life that is not yet been properly studied, understood or provided with any useful measures for their conservation.

On the other hand, it is unfortunate that this basic law insufficiently deals with the conservation of biodiversity in coastal and sea areas, although this matter was mentioned first in the third national biodiversity strategy of Japan and is also mentioned in the Marine Basic Plan.

The conservation of marine biodiversity is essential for food resources, various local cultural practices and for eco-tourism that is expected to develop rapidly.

As well, it is clear that the lives of many marine creatures, particularly the marine mammals that IKAN works to protect, need to be urgently protected and conserved.
These animals have been considered only by industry, primarily due to the harmful influence given by pyramid-style administration.

Many marine mammals are subject to some very difficult circumstances. For example, dugongs are supposed to be protected by the Wildlife Protection and Proper Hunting Law, but the actual protection they receive under this law is minimal at best as it lacks any real, enforceable measures for protection.

Wildlife such as Western Gray Whales are not even protected by the Wildlife Protection and Proper Hunting Law and the whale fishery keeps threatening the existence of their individual groups. Needless to say, many marine mammals are key species in marine biodiversity.

However, since marine environments have been increasingly degraded, they are losing their habitats at an alarming pace. As well, direct capture and inadvertently becoming fishery by-catch are additional threats to their lives.

IKAN believes that the various laws and regulations, such as Wildlife Protection and Proper Hunting Law, Law for the Conservation of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, and Fisheries Resource Protection Law should be amended and amalgamated into a single, effective, enforceable piece of legislation.

Alternatively, IKAN would like to see an entirely new law or a new framework for conserving marine life.

IKAN also strongly hopes that in future the principles embodied in the Biodiversity Basic Act will be well reflected in similar kinds of laws.