HAMBURG, 30 July. Australia and New Zealand today filed with the Registrar of the Tribunal requests for the prescription of provisional measures (interim injunction) in a case against Japan. The dispute between Australia and New Zealand on one side and Japan on the other concerns the conservation of the population of Southern Bluefin Tuna. The species is, according to the applicants, significantly overfished and is below commonly accepted thresholds for biologically safe parental biomass.
Australia and New Zealand claim that Japan’s actions amount to a failure to conserve and to cooperate in the conservation of the Southern Bluefin Tuna stock. The applicants claim that Japan, by initiating an unilateral experimental fishing programme for Southern Bluefin Tuna in 1998 and 1999, threaten serious or irreversible damage to the Southern Bluefin Tuna population. The request is for an interim injunction against Japan to immediately cease the unilateral experimental fishing of the Southern Bluefin Tuna, which commenced at the beginning of June 1999.
According to the requests, Southern Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus maccoyii) is a highly migratory fish species, which traverses the exclusive economic zone and territorial sea of several countries and the high seas, including the Southern Ocean.