An Australian fisheries manager accused Japan of illegally taking $2 billion worth of southern bluefin tuna, damaging the commercial stock.
Richard McLoughlin, managing director of the Australian Fisheries Management Authority, told the Sydney Morning Herald, Japanese fishers and suppliers from other countries caught up to three times the Japanese quota each year for the past 20 years.
"Essentially the Japanese have stolen $2 billion worth of fish from the international community, and have been sitting in meetings for 15 years saying they are as pure as the driven snow," he said. "And it's outrageous."
The revelations have sparked concerns that other fisheries in the Pacific and Indian oceans were pilfered. Calls have been renewed for southern bluefin to be protected under international wildlife law.
Southern bluefin tuna is one of the world's most expensive fish.
Copyright 2006 by United Press International
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