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Japan leading charge against bluefin ban

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Let the Govt. Representatives and Press Reporters do their job, readers will comment after the final vote !

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Um, "poor countries" like Oman?

Something about this smells fishy.

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This has got be costing the Japanese government billions of yen to buy all these countries off! I love the statement about "the big players" continuing to fish. Japan imports 80 PERCENT of what these so called big players catch, that means Japan is eating 80 percent of the tuna caught. To me that means Japan is a little player with a BIG APETITE!

When the tuna is extinct they'll complain that the 20% the rest of the world consumes drove it over the edge!

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Japan says it has the support of China while several other countries were undecided. China has not said publicly where it stands.

Just like Japan to blab its mouth before the other party makes comment. I hope that China supports the ban just to spite Japan.

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This is the total opposite of the direction Japan should be proposing. I guess the Atlantic Cod wasn't enough of an example. So be it, bye bye Atlantic Bluefin Tuna. It was nice while it lasted. Now, onwards to vacuuming out the Pacific.

Did you see the picture of the morning fish market in Tokyo? Those tuna sure looked small. There is not enough time for the fish to grow large because of over demand. The tuna are not growing faster to compensate, only their natural rate. Thus as the tuna are then smaller, they'll catch more of them to get the desired quota weight by ton, thus population depletion is magnified and eventual stock collapse is assured.

Japan instead should be setting up a fund for poorer nations to manage the withdrawal. Japan should be leading conservation efforts since it's bluefin's #1 consumer. Japan's leadership options were quite clear, and they turned away. This continues to be a sad story instead of one of renewal and responsibility.

The best outcome is then a quick stock collapse, forcing Japan to change it's fishing conservation outlook. Given that tuna is so widely consumed only then will it have the impact to help save other fish from over demand.

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sf2k: Did you see the picture of the morning fish market in Tokyo? Those tuna sure looked small.

...another expert on marine biology that doesn't know there are different kinds of tuna.

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In the later part of the 20th century the glutenous market called America got suddenly turned on to the healthy ( & cultural ) habit of eating Sushi... No one could get enough and in many cities that fastest growing segment of the food services industry was in Japanese cuisine...

Now after some 25 years of ravenous consumption of Tuna by the Western markets of America & Europe suddenly it is time to tame the Evil Empire of Japan for dwindling the Bluefin Tuna to the point of extinction ??????

Seems to me there wasn't a problem with the Bluefin until Westerners got an appetite for it !!

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@Fredster - Do people really say such illogical things, or is it the norm to throw all common sense out the window. At the rate that's stated is correct that how much Japan is consuming it wouldn't change the outcome. Maybe have been prolonged slightly longer.

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Bluefin should be banned for 5 years. These idiots are not looking at the big picture. If they keep over fishing Bluefin will be wiped out. Only Bluefin the might see is in the aquarium.

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hokkaidoguy

from wikipedia the "Atlantic bluefin tuna are capable of reaching well over a thousand pounds in weight"

do these look to be 1000 pounds in weight? http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2006/08/11/1154803102432.html

Apology accepted.

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Why can't Japan and other idiot countries except the ban In America ( Grouper ) a native fish found in Florida was banned for 3 years. Why can't except the ban ? Japan is not starving or facing a famine. Talk about greedy !!!!!! Very sad childish behavior.

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FUNNY... how some on this site know so much about the migratory habits of Atlantic tuna and the exact numbers of these fish in the ocean... Sushi daisuki desu !!!

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i'm just googling, but this article from 2007 is more descriptive in the science: http://tinyurl.com/yapb7f6

In 1991, he found, the probability of landing a C+ fish (A being the highest grade) was 16 percent and 9 percent for August and September, respectively. By 2004, the probability increased to 68 percent and 76 percent in the C+ category for August and September, respectively. He also observed that the bluefin are leaner on arrival to the Gulf of Maine; the probability of catching a poor quality fish (grade C or worse) in June 1991 was 30% compared with 70% in 2004. Good quality fish, such as B or better, now comprise less than one percent of the commercial catch at this New Hampshire cooperative.

This would have only gotten worse in the last six years.

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Blaming western countries for this is completely stupid, most of the bluefin served in Japan is imported. If Japan doesn't agree with the ban, stick to fishing for bluefin in Japanese waters only. When stocks rebound, exclude Japan from bluefin trade, see how long it takes before they come crying.

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sf2k: The photo you were referring to did not contain Atlantic bluefin.

Hence my point. The tuna in the photo you refer to weren't small because of over-exploitation, they're small because they're not atlantic bluefin.

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headline should read "Japan leading charge against being environmentally responsible".

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just to point out that it's called the Atlantic Blue Fin tuna, so it won't be found around the Pacific.

Thus Japan needs importers and should have started a worldwide moratorium fund program to help them adjust, not force these poorer nations to help Japan in Doha. In the end this just kills off the poorer nations own livelihood. I wonder what they'll think about Japan after that?

Take the high road, it's difficult but conservation will earn respect for Japan, help its importer friends in the long term, and help the world understand its fishing limitations. Anything less just creates more problems and animosity.

What happens when these importers lose their jobs?

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Intead how about this... A bluefin fishing moratorium including stocks that the bluefin tuna eat (herring etc) is paid into by Japan, and other countries. Japanese and other fishing importers would thus back off, allowing the bluefin stock to replenish itself. After two to three years, a limited catch is resumed to determine a new sustainable rate. I would accept that and as such Japan could get out of the me-first attitude and show its importers that Japan is not just a fair weather friend.

That's what's needed here. I can only hope Japan sees the opportunity in helping others who would be worst hit by the bluefin tuna collapse and how that builds better relations.

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sf2k -- agree. Atlantic bluefin tuna represent less than 10% of the tuna consumed in Japan each year. Why not, as you suggest, take the high road and demonstrate some ability to compromise, so that Japan gains credibility?

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hokkaidoguy

Interesting! I see, so the pictures themselves might not be bluefin. I woudn't think JT is lying but anyway, the issue is grade and in looking at the information the grade has been dropping. Given the other post above they are diminished in quality (Grade C, not A). Here's a bluefin tuna circa 1971 http://www.webinntekt.com/blogg/wp-admin/images/Bluefin%20tuna2.jpg which is not C grade.

from that wikipedia link above:

Fully mature adult specimens average 2–2.5 metres (6 ft 7 in–8 ft 2 in) long and around 350 kilograms (770 lb) in weight. The species can reach a maximum length of about 4.3 metres (14 ft). The largest recorded specimen taken under International Game Fish Association rules was caught off Nova Scotia, an area renowned for huge Atlantic bluefin, by Ken Fraser and weighed 679 kilograms (1,497 lb).

For that floor picture that keeps being reposted, they're pretty puny comparatively to the stats. Next time it shows up, ask JT to verify that the picture is bluefin specific then we'll know for certain that the hypothesis is reasonable.

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hokkaidoguy

either way, my guess is that the size must be decreasing because the stock can't recover naturally in time by the next fishing cycle, hence why the stock has dropped between 72-82%. Thus more fish at a smaller size are taken since the quota is in tons, compounding the collapse further. That seems a reasonable deduction.

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once again, its culture - you cannot argue with culture, its the ultimate get out of jail card. the japanese dont see beyond this - it is their cultural right to keep eating these things until they disappear..

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The thing is Japan (and japan tv of course), is taking it as "attack" to it's culture, the usual "us and them" they love. They are missing the big point here, that tuna will be over if nothing is done.

I mean, if you like it you should take care of it, right?

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That Japanese officials can complain about "unfairness" when Japan consumes 75% of ALL the world's bluefin tuna is utterly astounding.

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Japan's position on this issue is childish. Without a sustainable fishing strategy in place, tuna prices will rise euen sooner than they otherwise would have, and tuna stocks will be depleted next week instead of next year (metaphorically speaking). When Japanese use 'culture' as a defense of their continued whaling and fishing, what they really mean is 'our people will lose money and jobs.' The stupid thing is, if Japan continues to suck up 80% of the global tuna catch, they'll lose money and jobs even sooner. What is ideal is a ban - perhaps for 10 years. Eat something else, let tuna stocks recover, then fish them sustainably for longer. The problem is many Japanese can't see beyond the 'oishiiii!' piece of tuna on their plate, let alone tomorrow.

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Excuse me of culture, culture, culture, baloney Japan. It's same as export of over 2 million cars annually to U.S. during the 80's and 90's. It's in their culture and people of Japan think that they have every right to gobble up everything available. How selfish. Face the facts, Japanese do not have any self-retraint and this applies to bluefins, whales, etc. Let Japan gobble up all the bluefins and there will be no more sushi left. They could have daikon sushi thinking it's a farm raised bluefins. How sad Japanese cannot change.

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herefornow

Wow only 10% of the total? And the catch they get from Bluefin is 80% of the catch. That's an incredible amount of tuna from all species combined.

nylex4

well if culture cannot be argued then its not a culture. It's a museum piece. Stuffed on the wall, like a marlin...or a tuna. The 32,000 Japanese who commit suicide is also culture. It doesn't mean that it's acceptable. Culture changes all the time, but retains the best of itself, and does not justify the worst. How it does this is never the same and always different.

My own country of Canada has its problems, we killed off the Atlantic Cod, but I'd really like it if someone else took that as an example to learn from, not repeat.

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so poor countries also dont support the ban because it will harm their economy. Hmm have they thought about what they will do when there are no fish left? I swear this world is run by idiots, role on 2012 when there will a huge disaster that will wipe our idiot species off the face of the planet.

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ilcub76 at 07:45 AM JST - 18th March Japan says it has the support of China while several other countries >were undecided. China has not said publicly where it stands. Just like Japan to blab its mouth before the other party makes comment. >I hope that China supports the ban just to spite Japan.

It won't happen. Japan's supporting China on the shark (fin) issue. Besides, the greatest increase in ABT consumption occured in the last 10 years. Now, what country in the last 10 years produced many well to do citizens who could not only afford but love sushi? Hint; some of them have been outbidding the Japanese at the Tuna auctions.

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sfjp330

Japanese do not have any self-retraint and this applies to bluefins, whales, etc

Well, I wouldn't agree it's just Japan. Canada killed off its Atlantic Cod in the 90's so Japan is hardly alone in this regard.

It's perfectly normal actually that Japan do this. Anymore than Americans demanded free stuff no money down. We're all similar actually, it's just a question of how we react to change. Japan is up to bat here and finding itself not unique, ignoring responsibility like everyone else with debts and taxes.

The real blossom would have been if Japan had said yes to a moratorium, and risen above the normal human instinct to put responsibility off. I feel it would have won major international favour with a international fund to help displaced fishermen and improved Japan's image on the world stage.

As things get more serious though, I still hold out hope that this will eventually happen, and in turn for each of us our own face with destiny and responsibility.

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Atlantic bluefin tuna represent less than 10% of the tuna consumed in Japan each year. Why not, as you suggest, take the high road and demonstrate some ability to compromise, so that Japan gains credibility?

That, unfortunately, would call for taking the initiative...

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diggerdog

so poor countries also dont support the ban because it will harm their economy. Hmm have they thought about what they will do when there are no fish left? I swear this world is run by idiots, role on 2012 when there will a huge disaster that will wipe our idiot species off the face of the planet.

That's why a moratorium fund would be so useful. You could probably rotate it for different species as well. The poorer or affected nations would be paid to stop fishing while the fish stock is allowed to replenish at its normal rate. In the meantime the country can try to diversify their economies.

That would have been a real step up for Japan to make this proposal, and get out of debt as it were with tuna, instead of the protect-own-interests approach which must surely fail all those importer countries along with Japan.

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The EU now has quotas on cod to protect them, so why cant a similar thing be done here? I know alot of fish & chip shops in the UK offer alternatives so you dont even have to eat cod. Cant people just go for a few years eating salmon or one of the many other fish? Human greed just doesnt know when to stop does it

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maalenki at 09:42 AM JST - 18th March

Atlantic bluefin tuna represent less than 10% of the tuna consumed in Japan each year. Why not, as you suggest, take the high road and demonstrate some ability to compromise, so that Japan gains credibility?

That, unfortunately, would call for taking the initiative...

Ironically that in business, Japan takes the long view, and because of that has been very successful in making decade based plans. But not with food. Very strange. In this case Japan is unfortunately no better or worse than the rest of us.

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nylex4 said,

"once again, its culture - you cannot argue with culture, its the ultimate get out of jail card. the japanese dont see beyond this - it is their cultural right to keep eating these things until they disappear.."

and

sfjp330 said,

Excuse me of culture, culture, culture, baloney Japan. It's same as export of over 2 million cars annually to U.S. during the 80's and 90's. It's in their culture and people of Japan think that they have every right to gobble up everything available. How selfish. Face the facts, Japanese do not have any self-retraint and this applies to bluefins, whales, etc. Let Japan gobble up all the bluefins and there will be no more sushi left. They could have daikon sushi thinking it's a farm raised bluefins. How sad Japanese cannot change.

Yes, it is culture. The Japanese people can change along with changing their culture from eating tons of bluefin tuna to moderate and low intake of tuna as their part of their diet.

The debate is about the Japanese government and the majority of the people need to learn to cultivate or grow their own tuna and not deplete the ocean of whales, dolphins, and bluefin tuna etc. to where there won't be any more. Once they understand the importance of that then they will change.

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"Japan, which imports 80% of Atlantic bluefin and has led the opposition to the ban, argued on Wednesday that CITES should have no role in regulating tuna and other marine species."

Yes, no doubt Japan thinks Japanese scientists should have the only say in marine species that it likes and wants to fish/whale. Thus is usually about the 'depth' of the Japanese side.

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Over the next few years (perhaps decades), this problem will take care of itself. Why argue about it?

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there was a japanese documentary about a month ago on TV (here in japan) which analysed this whole tuna thing...while the japanese do eat a huge amount, there is a growing demand from hong kong and china for this stuff... they showed a hong kong restaurant owner who feeds 10,000 people a day (lunch and dinner combined) and these customers all ordered this tuna sashimi..interesting thing was that he buys his tuna through his japanese contacts at the Tsukiji markets in tokyo... this guy outbids the japanese in many cases at the wholesalers auction to get the tuna for his hong kong restautant such is the demand....culture wars aside, the growing demand from asia for this stuff will push the prices up making it more expensive for all .. this will then fuel more smuggling and black market dealing of this stuff in the future...

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Sometimes it's embarrassing to live in Japan. Stop calling me! I don't make the policies of this country.

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kiss your tourist numbers goodbye.

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Japan embarrassing itself again, sure people will lose jobs, culture will be changed and it is somewhat unfair for Japan but if beef were going extinct America and other countries would have to do the same thing.

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I have seen the Japanese media and officials play the "Japanese culture under attack" card. One thing I have learned from 5 years of living here is that Japanese people themselves do little to research anything outside of Japanese language web. Where as we can read English media from France/England/Canada/the US/Spain...etc etc, the Japanese get all of their news from their own. It is hard to verify news stories from sources outside of Japan. Japanese are the worst in Asia at understanding English and it is not common to find news sources counter to Japanese views in Japanese. They circle the wagons quickly here. Their own people are kept in the dark about many things and they don't trust the outside media to be right. Simple is as simple does. The fact that the stocks will go down in several years anyway matters not. Sustainable is all they say but it is obvious the non farmed fish are less and less likely to produce larger fish. That is the first sign. But no one here believes any of the outside worlds news media. So in this situation as in many, they come off as spoiled children over the Tuna as they do in the "the world is just attacking Toyota because we are successful" issue. Tuna wars will rival the whales by next year.

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As I have written on numerous occasions before, Japan's credibility regarding tuna issues has been seriously undermined by its behavior regarding South Bluefin Tuna stocks. Indeed, considering Japan's disgraceful behavior in that instance, this current issue might be a little bit of payback. Then again, it is interesting to see Australia lining up with Japan on this issue.

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I love a good tuna sushi or sashimi. But like everyone living here who loves it - we all must accept that we can't eat the huge amounts that we have been - and allow the natural stocks to build up over a few years. There are in fact many types of fish out there that make for great sushi - check them out next time at the local sushi bar.

This fight against the ban is a battle Japan will never win - just accept it and move on, Japan.

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smithinjapan at 10:00 AM JST - 18th March "Japan, which imports 80% of Atlantic bluefin and has led the opposition >to the ban, argued on Wednesday that CITES should have no role in >regulating tuna and other marine species." Yes, no doubt Japan thinks Japanese scientists should have the only say >in marine species that it likes and wants to fish/whale. Thus is usually >about the 'depth' of the Japanese side.

No smith try reading the rest of the paragraph.

"It said that it is willing to accept lower quotas for bluefin tuna but wants those to come from the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, or ICCAT, which currently regulates the trade."

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timorborder;

yeah Australia looks confused on this. So its against whaling and for tuna? Huh? This is just proof that it's not all about Japan here, but it does speak to the greater logical implosion of global responsibility and reduction. No one is looking to the future.

virgo

thanks for the insight. Explains the information gaps but not the ability to be so thin skinned as to overreact on any and every criticism, nor for such a well read population to have such a bad understanding of basic biological and science processes versus other countries. And don't get me started on "unique snow" ..must... not... go... there...

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virgo

actually your comment does explain these things, sorry. It's more the lack of curiosity I think that I'm talking about

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The Australia / Peru idea, which sounds to be a proposal to list on CITES Appendix II rather than Appendix I is more reasonable. If push came to shove I think Japan would accept this.

Still the Japanese official makes a good point:

"If necessary, let’s stop fishing using ICCAT measures."

Precisely. Why are America and EU nations pushing for a trade ban when they could be pushing for proper enforcement of sound scientifically based management measures made by ICCAT?

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are rhetorical questions even necessary?

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“If necessary, let’s stop fishing using ICCAT measures. Then everyone must give up the fishing. But here, it is very unfair.”

yeah if the local there need to stop fishing for local consumption, it will very very unfair for them.

i don't see what a problem for the countries around Atlantic and Mediterranean to catch it for local consumption, "but still need to be under limited number which i sure they will have to set it up."

why do Miyahara seem so worry about that? or this guy just worry that the local over there will still be able to have the fist but japanese can't? come on you take 80% of the world stock for many year already. cut that80% and let the local have the rest20% or even lower that would help the local and the fish.

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OssanAmerica,

Re:

"It said that it is willing to accept lower quotas for bluefin tuna but wants those to come from the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, or ICCAT, which currently regulates the trade."

I'm going to assume you read the rest of the article and simply overlooked including the below quote to supplement the above:

"Critics, however, argue that ICCAT consistently ignores its own scientists in setting quotas and does little to stop countries from exceeding already high quotas or cracking down on widespread illegal fishing."

It shouldn't matter where regulation comes from, but in this case, it seems Japan would prefer to go with the recomendations of an organization that allows Japan to continue fishing at the same levels it has for the past 30 years, with minimal effective regulation. Which partially is how we got to this spot in the first place. ICCAT is an abysmal failure and seems more beholden to nations that cry, "Economy!" than to preventing the extinction of a species for which the body was specificially created.

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wiz - Over the next few years (perhaps decades), this problem will take care of itself. Why argue about it?

Sadly, you may be right thus, giving us all a couple of decades to prepare an answer for when your grandkids come up to you and say, "Hey, Grandpa? What's did tuna taste like?"

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Thought it was funny that Australia is against the ban when the tuna is much more endangered than whales. Australia is a joke country when it comes to environmental issues.

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"Hey, Grandpa? What's did tuna taste like?" Chicken. That's why is was called chicken of the sea. (heh,heh)

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Foolish. Either way Japanese are going to pay, but if there is no outright ban, they are going to pay forever, as there is simply going to be not enough tuna to fully recover. But people are missing the point here--the bluefin is just one example. After that is gone, the world will concentrate on #2 delicious fish until that is wiped out, and then #3 delicious fish until that is wiped out and so on. The government said it right last year, that people are going to have to realize that in the future there is going to be a major change in our diet. They mentioned rice, and potatoes.

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Japan, once again leading the blinded few on a self destructive hopeless and purely wrong conflict. When will the leaders of this country learn?

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if there is no outright ban, they are going to pay forever, as there is simply going to be not enough tuna to fully recover.

Money does not make tuna over-fished.

Over-fishing makes tuna over-fished.

Over-fishing can not happen if governments (including those proposing a trade ban) regulate their fishing indsutries appropriately and within the responsible fisheries management organizations (ICCAT in this instance) seek to have quotas agreed that would allow tuna stocks to be rebuilt.

Just saying there is a blanket trade ban does not stop people catching fish they aren't supposed to be catching. Until the governments responsible for lax regulations step up and enforce the regulations properly the tuna stocks won't recover to levels yielding high catches.

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thedeath,

Japan doesn't catch 80% of the fish, it only pays to eat 80% of the fish.

And the reason that Japan gets 80% is because Japanese people are prepared to pay more than others for it.

Now, for the fishing industries in those other places, of course they are happy to take good Japanese prices versus lower prices from elsewhere. It works very well for them that Japanese people are willing to pay good prices. Japanese people are doing them a favour.

What is important though, is for the governments of those fishing industries to ensure that they don't go exceeding their quotas in pursuit of illicit profits (greed).

They need to have systems in place that will enable them to track the amount of tuna both caught and exported, and if possible and feasible share the information with Japan and other importers so that they can verify the legality of trade on their side too. Apparently Japanese authorities caught a load of 2,300 tons of tuna in early March from an EU nation with incomplete trade documentation. Seems suspicious. This area is what we need to have cleaned up.

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Ossan: ""It said that it is willing to accept lower quotas for bluefin tuna but wants those to come from the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, or ICCAT, which currently regulates the trade."

I think LFR summed it up pretty well, but just in case you once again decided to ignore the facts: "...ICCAT consistently ignores its own scientists in setting quotas and does little to stop countries from exceeding already high quotas or cracking down on widespread illegal fishing."

Funny how you claim I don't read something in the article and then fail to follow through on what you preach. Hypocrisy has always been one of your strong points, though.

Anyway, of COURSE the Japanese would approve of it being monitored by ICCAT -- like I said, they would approve of it being monitored by their own scientists, and since both their own scientists and ICCAT clearly ignore REAL science, it's no wonder why (and no wonder why you defend it).

Nice try, though.

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Ossan: Let me give an allegory, if I may: Japan supporting ICCAT is much like when the J-cops, or at least their chiefs, support the Yakuza -- both are corrupt, and the latter will gladly allow the former to turn a blind eye for their best interests... or wait... which one is which? :)

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"Just saying there is a blanket trade ban does not stop people catching fish they aren't supposed to be catching"

No but it does take away the market for their catch. Complaining nations dont police their fishing fleets well is just so much smoke and mirrors. The multinational nature of this business and the vast sums of money available make it impossible for disparate nations to monitor quotas in any meaningful way. The Japanese authorities know that and are playing divide and conquer here as in the whaling dispute. I can understand that Japanese business will feel some real pain if this market disappears but fishing on as is is not acceptable and quota proposals are unenforceable.

Quotas have been set and ignored for way too long. Play the long game, support a trade ban.

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davidattokyo: "Over-fishing can not happen if governments (including those proposing a trade ban) regulate their fishing indsutries appropriately and within the responsible fisheries management organizations (ICCAT in this instance) seek to have quotas agreed that would allow tuna stocks to be rebuilt."

And yet ICCAT clearly does not regulate it at all, and at the behest of the Japanese allows quotas to go unchecked, etc. As soon as you buckle to Japan and give them a quota instead of a ban, if the quota is not well above what they like, what do you think they would say?

"We will not follow the quota"

And that's that. Japan is like a two year old child on this issue, and like the two year old child has to learn the hard way that when the thing they desire is no longer there, they won't have anyone to blame but their own greed for it.

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smithinjapan,

in case you once again decided to ignore the facts: "...ICCAT consistently ignores its own scientists in setting quotas

But "who" is ICCAT?

ICCAT includes the exact same EU states that are calling for this (irrational and unscientific) trade ban through CITES.

Why are they abdicating their management responsibilities? Are they basically saying themselves that they are incapable or unwilling to regulate their own fisheries?

Why do we even have ICCAT if nations like the EU nations don't want to take their management responsibilities seriously? Why do we have RFMOs at all?

And why do you trust them to implement a trade ban properly if they themselves are the same nations that are failing to fulfill their responsibilities through ICCAT? What is the point?

Again in your other comment you blame all of ICCATs problems on Japan, when at a recent meeting Japan was hoping for bigger cuts, but had to buckle to EU nations hopes for higher quotas in order to get an agreement that would actually reduce quotas. You clearly haven't been following this issue, and gee, that you just blame Japan first shows you have some ill-founded prejudices.

dontpanic,

it does take away the market for their catch.

So how are the trade authorities going to be able to tell an Atlantic tuna from a different species of tuna?

If they have the power and ability to properly implement a trade ban (otherwise a trade ban is meaningless), then they should have the power and ability to implement proper regulations through ICCAT too. So why don't they just fulfil their ICCAT responsibilities?

Complaining nations dont police their fishing fleets well is just so much smoke and mirrors.

But that's the root problem.

The multinational nature of this business and the vast sums of money available make it impossible for disparate nations to monitor quotas in any meaningful way.

If that's true, then how are they going to implement a trade ban effectively?

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The consensus here seems to be against the "culturist" and greedy Japanese policies. Finally, some sense has arrived on this issue of overfishing (except for the nonsensical Japanese). Wah, Wah, Wah! cries the Japanese Gov't when it doesn't get it's own way....and then it bribes other countries.

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some sense has arrived on this issue of overfishing

Yeah... so long as one believes that the same ICCAT member nations who don't regulate their fisheries properly now would have the political will and regulatory ability to implement a CITES trade ban effectively, were it to be adopted.

Who actually believes that? Any takers?

Or are you all just for it because you think it "sounds good" or something?

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David tokoyo,

Now, for the fishing industries in those other places, of course they are happy to take good Japanese prices versus lower prices from elsewhere. It works very well for them that Japanese people are willing to pay good prices. Japanese people are doing them a favour.

What is important though, is for the governments of those fishing industries to ensure that they don't go exceeding their quotas in pursuit of illicit profits (greed).

While you are apparantly happy to shift the blame for the BFT crisis onto other nations for supplying japan as shown in your statements here, you can not seriously believe that the fisherman willing to sell there tuna to japan for the big bucks, are the cause.

It's akin to drug dealing.

An addict will pay any price to get a fix, thus creating and forcefully driving the market for drugs,creating a supplier frenzy to find and supply the addicts.

Take out the addicts, and the demand for the drug instantly dissappears.

In 1999 japan, under a tuna quota system, Japan granted itself an "EXTRA" over and above catch of nearly 1,500 tons for "experimental purposes". This was despite the fact japan already was awarded the highest tuna quota, and chose to reap these extra rewards in Australian waters for which they had an agreement to do so...but only for there legal quota. Aus and NZ, took the case to the The United Nations International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea which resulted in an injunction against Japan barring japan from raising its legal 6,000 tonne quota by using the ole "scientific research" line, which has worked successfully for japan with the whaling issues.

Japan was also barred from fishing for tuna in australian waters under the judgement. Japan has continuously lobbied for a higher quota every year, despite the falling numbers of tuna.

Except for the damage caused to the marine environment by the loss of the tuna population, I would be happy to let japan have its way with the tuna....see the total commercial extinction in a few years, and have japan totally without their favorite fish.

But i would love to be present, when Tuna starts becoming unavailable, and the Japanese governemt/fisheries agents, through the media explain the loss to the japanese people.

It will begin...like ALL the whaling, fishing, and conservation media broadcasts in japan.

Those bad western nations, have consistantly overfished the tuna in the ocean and now, despite our repeated pleas to conserve and lower quotas and impliment export bans, the tuna has become extinct.

The west have no respect for our culture, western people are racist! Oh , i can hear it now...we hear there bleating, victim mentality enough now.

To solve the problem of over fishing EVERYWHERE to sell to Japan, we need to stall the demand. It's that simple, and needs to start with japan,NOW, and have the support of every other nation on the planet to succeed.

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japan forever the victim are at it again it seems.

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"How to Determine Which Species of Bluefin Has Been Caught"

Let's see... If I own a fishing boat and dock in a port along the Atlantic or Mediterranean, it's a pretty good bet that any Bluefin tuna in my hold are going to be Atlantic Bluefin and would be subject to the proposed ban. If I'm docking in a Pacific Rim port or one in the Indian Ocaen, it's a pretty good bet that any Bluefin tuna in my hold are NOT going to be Atlantic Bluefin and NOT subject to the proposed ban.

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I do not support a ban, because it will be an unenforceable waste of resources, but make everyone feel that "something was done".

With modern techniques, poacher ships can avoid detection. The Japanese will simply illegally fish them to extinction while claiming innocence.

So eat a piece today so you can tell your kids what they tasted like.

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Fadamor,

OK, that's a start. So, then do you actually police it? Do you know that you have monitored all the tuna that is caught, and some hasn't been snuck past you? And how do you make sure that it doesn't get exported?

And if you can do all of that, then why not just regulate the fisheries properly via ICCAT and agree to quotas advised to you by the ICCAT scientists? That way your fishing industry can rake in foreign exchange which is good for your economy, and tuna consumers can be happy too.

But who does a ban on exports really work for? Is this really the best we can do?

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There will always be poachers. Those groups are usually too small to be noticed by authorities (at least quickly). But simply because there is no guarantee that you will have 100% compliance is no reason to abandon the ban. A 95% compliance-rate will still give the species a fighting chance to recover.

The proposed ban isn't on EXPORTS. The proposed ban is on CATCHING and the CATCHING ban works for the survival of the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna as a species. Yes it is the BEST we can do for the species.

If/when the species DOES recover, THEN we can change the ban into a reasonable harvest limited by quotas. This will allow you to indulge in your Bluefin addiction at reduced rates. Remember, there will STILL be Pacific Bluefin in your stores during a ban, albiet at higher prices because there will be less bluefin to go around. Once the Atlantic bluefin becomes available again, the supply in stores will increase, resulting in a decrease in price per pound.

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Fadamor,

Incorrect. CITES is a trade management organization. ICCAT is the body that sets catch quotas, and they haven't proposed a zero catch quota.

See http://www.cites.org/eng/disc/how.shtml The Monaco propsal was to list the species on Appendix I, which would mean an international trade ban (except between countries with reservations). The Australia compromise proposal was to list on Appendix II, which would allow trade but with increased controls. Not an entirely bad idea.

This is all academic now as breaking news is that the proposal was voted down. (Apparently something like 60 to 20 odd votes, I missed the exact count)

But, given that annual quotas for Atlantic bluefin tuna are much greater than the size of the much criticised "unwanted whale meat stockpile", one has to question whether the species is actually in danger of extinction, as opposed to in need of proper management to build the stock numbers back up to greater numbers.

I personally hope that ICCAT cuts quotas again, but that alone is not enough without meaningful controls in the EU nations to ensure the rules are complied with. As you say, even though there may be some poaching, so long as the impact is limited it may be something we can live with. But it seems more needs to be done by EU nations before we reach that point.

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This is all academic now as breaking news is that the proposal was voted down. (Apparently something like 60 to 20 odd votes, I missed the exact count)

Yup, including mainly African countries, if I understood correctly. Seems like Japan organized a party last night with leaders of over 30 African countries, where they served tuna.

Oh, the Great Japanese Culture.

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Here are the votes... 20 in favour (gee, that's less than the number of countries in the EU alone, so some of them must have turned), 68 opposed.

Resounding defeat for blanket international trade ban.

The EU put a new revised proposal too, which garnered 43 votes in favour and 72 against.

Now let's please not forget about ICCAT and complain about it loudly if they don't take appropriate management measures.

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(A 66% majority is required for adoption at CITES, they didn't even get 50%).

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Congratulations to Japan, East Asia and those tiny countries swayed by Japan's bribery. In a few years time, the Japanese will be asking 'What happened to all the fish?'

Why are certain countries hell bent on eating certain animals to the point of extinction? Absolutely no respect for mother nature.

davidattokyo:

You should be ashamed of yourself. I bet even the Maoris have more respect for this planet and it's creatures.

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YES!!! JAPAN WON!!!

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smithinjapan at 04:21 PM JST - 18th March Ossan: ""It said that it is willing to accept lower quotas for bluefin >tuna but wants those to come from the International Commission for the >Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, or ICCAT, which currently regulates the >trade."

I think LFR summed it up pretty well, but just in case you once again >decided to ignore the facts: "...ICCAT consistently ignores its own >scientists in setting quotas and does little to stop countries from >exceeding already high quotas or cracking down on widespread illegal >fishing."

Nice quote when you ignore the words "CRITICS SAY" before it. Selective text editing.

"Funny how you claim I don't read something in the article and then fail to follow through on what you preach. Hypocrisy has always been one of your strong points, though."

I don't cut up texts to suit my agenda as you do. Nor is every comment I make on the JT boards a front for mouthing anti-J nonsense.

Anyway, of COURSE the Japanese would approve of it being monitored by >ICCAT -- like I said, they would approve of it being monitored by their >own scientists, and since both their own scientists and ICCAT clearly >ignore REAL science, it's no wonder why (and no wonder why you defend >it).

So provide proof as to why ICCAT should not be the dictating authority on the issue. And show me where in the artile does it say anything about "The Japanese would like it monitored by THEIR OWN scientists"?? That's just your anti-j rhetoric with no basis in reality or connection to the above article.

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The fish has already lost. The proposal was rejected.

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Except for the damage caused to the marine environment by the loss of the tuna population, I would be happy to let japan have its way with the tuna....see the total commercial extinction in a few years, and have japan totally without their favorite fish.

Me too!

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But who does a ban on exports really work for?

Not the Japanese.

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In a few years time, the Japanese will be asking 'What happened to all the fish?'

And it will be everyone's fault that there's none left but their own foolishness.

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You know what's funny, though? It seems that the outright ban was only supported by the US, Kenya and Norway, while the rest of the world (how dare they!) declined. The interested parties included not only Japan, China and many African nations, but also a whole heap of white folks, including Canada, Australia, France, Spain and Italy. Do you really think that Japan bribed, bullied and coerced the rest of the world against this vote? Maybe the bullying was the other way round.

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Quote fropm Susan Lieberman, director of international policy with the Pew Environment Group in Washington. "The fish is too valuable for its own good."

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I'll always have fond memories of tuna salad sandwiches. The bluefin tuna are as good as gone. It's not like they're breeding any faster. Nature doesn't work on back room committee and always bats last.

Notice that not even Canada has taken this as seriously as the Atlantic Cod example and voted/abstained? Congrats to our hapless conservative government. Predictable really.

Will Japan at least have a bluefin funeral when the time comes?

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Judyboots;

yes more to the point that Japan is not unique in this, that all those countries also abstained from rationality. As further species decline this attitude of irresponsibility will have to come to an end or else more of the worlds food supply is simply gone. We must be idiots.

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Canada is very much to blame, too. Not only the Japanese. Canada, tar sands and now this. Bad record. As with so many things, the short sightedness of our species is bewildering. What will the future of these 'fishing economies' be when there are no Blue Fin Tuna left in 5-10 years?

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@sf2k: no 'musts' about it I am afraid.

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Let it be shown in history that Japan led the charge and won, followed by a majority vote with the rest of the forum and was not forced or bullied or without different choices. That way Japan and the rest have to face their mistakes and cannot blame each other for their own faults, my own gov't included.

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enjoy it while you can Japan - soon there will be none left :-(

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Do people realize just how small the Bluefin Tuna consumption is in Japan compared to their consumption of other Tuna species?

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TokyoRoughGuy at 12:38 AM JST - 19th March

YES!!! JAPAN WON!!!

That is until the bluefin are fished out and then Japan will loose, big time.

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Pukey2

Hey outside Japan and Asia I think you missed a few places that didn't support the trade ban proposal. And you really think Japan "bribed" 70 of them?

Come on man, just accept the fact that US/EU opinion is not always world opinion.

In a few years time, the Japanese will be asking 'What happened to all the fish?'

What we need to hope for now is that the same EU nations that were pushing the trade ban will finally come to their senses and implement policy in accordance with their obligations under ICCAT.

Why are certain countries hell bent on eating certain animals to the point of extinction?

That's the opposite of what those countries want to do.

You should be ashamed of yourself. I bet even the Maoris have more respect for this planet and it's creatures.

Mmmmm, OK and you give a little racist blurt against Maori as well... shows who is on the right side of this argument.

sf2k,

As further species decline this attitude of irresponsibility will have to come to an end or else more of the worlds food supply is simply gone. We must be idiots.

If we are trying to impose trade bans when we should be regulating the fisheries where it all starts, then yes we would be idiots.

Again to everyone complaining - ICCAT set quotas this year in the ballpark of 13,000 tons. Japan's so-called "unwanted whale meat stockpile" is just 4,000 tons or thereabouts.

There are still quite a few tuna left :)

This is not the end of the tuna. What will be the end of the tuna is a failure of the nations involved to regulate their fishing fleets and ensure that quotas that are set are kept to. If you feel strongly about it, write to the EU member nations about it and tell them to pull their heads in.

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The interested parties included not only Japan, China and many African nations, but also a whole heap of white folks, including Canada, Australia, France, Spain and Italy. Do you really think that Japan bribed, bullied and coerced the rest of the world against this vote?

Judyboots,

Japan pays enormous prices to purchase any BFT, anywhere in the world.

Japan persistantly and forcefully drives the BFT market worldwide by offering exorbitant amount of money for BFT. They have their own quota, and want everyone elses to, the other nations are course very happy to recieve the big bucks.

Sadly, the pursue of profits today for a short time, is much more desireable than a smaller gain over the next 50 years.

The only to save the BFT and the sensitive marine balance and our not quite so healthy ecosytem is to kill the market, which is japan.

Japan will then have to make do with whaever BFT they can catch in their own waters, and the rest of the nations will do the same, without the major high prices from japan.

But thats not gunna happen!

This is a perfect example of sacrificing long term sustainability for short term profit. In the long run, this is going to cause more problems economically and environmentally than doing what needs to be done now.

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No Sharyn, there are other alternatives.

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We won!! We wooon!!! (maybe just this time)

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@DavidibTokyo: NO. Educate the locals as to what there demands result in. Go for the cause. not a factor i.e the EU. Don't be so purposefully naive.

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education does not work. Changing human behaviour is ultimately futile - economics shows us this time and time again - this is why a universal ban is the only way to circumvent a tragedy of the commons type situation.

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@Waka: Education doesn't work? Poppycock!

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YongYang,

Straight back at you.

The people voting for the EU member nation politicians who fail to implement regulations in accordance with their ICCAT obligations are in much need as anyone of education.

The cause of over-exploited tuna stocks is over-exploitation of tuna stocks.

People can only consume tuna if it has been caught. When too many are being caught, that is the point where the governments responsible have to stand up and look out for their interests properly by ensuring quotas are not exceeded.

wakaionna,

A universal ban wouldn't work because it is not a real solution. You have to look at the whol situation, which includes people as well.

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This is by no means the first time people have stood up and asked that something be done about the severe and rapid decline of the BFT.

Japan is the major consumer and drives the market worldwide, your government and fisheries agents, have also EVERY year lobbied to have there quota (the highest) raised, despite the rapid decline of the species, and have continuously rallied to quash any attempts to overhaul the joke you call ICCAT, or allow regulation by another group empowered to strictly enforce conservation.

But the decision is now in, japan has won and can, and will continue to consume the majority of BFT caught worldwide, under the never watchful eye of it's counterpart ICCAT.

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A universal ban wouldn't work because it is not a real solution. You have to look at the whol situation, which includes people as well.

A universal export ban was the only solution.

All else has failed and will continue to do so.

The whole situation which includes people?

Ask the cod fisherman /fishing industries, and the folks that used to enjoy cod. Tuna will go the same way the cod did.

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@Davein Tokyo: Right back at me with... what? Educate the consumer and you'll see a change in consumerism. Simple math.

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