The UN Seahorse in Japan!
Commemorating the Year of the Ocean
Conservation and Protection of Marine Animals
In spite of sustained efforts to conserve wildlife, many marine species in Japan are under threat of extinction or are extinct. Primary reasons for this have been past hunting pressures, habitat degradation and destruction, pollution and other reasons. Measures for conservation and protection of wildlife and marine animals now fall under the Law for the Conservation of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (LCES) promulgated in June 1992.

The 'Red Data Book of Japan' contains results of a survey on threatened fauna and flora conducted by the Environment Agency of Japan. It lists 259 species and subspecies of amphibians and fresh water fish that are original to Japan. Of these, two are extinct, 16 feared extinct, six in danger of extinction, and 17 are scares (total 41 species in danger). For example, the Hokuriku and Abe Salamanders, Mase Salmon, Ariake Ice Fish, Shortfin Scad, Metropolitan Bitterling and Chinese Stickle-back are listed as 'endangered'; the Hakuba salamander, Japanese Hunchen, Jead Spotted Charr, and the Rough Shin Sculpin are listed as 'vulnerable'.

Japan has initiated a number of measures to conserve and protect endangered species. Measures primarily revolve around building awareness at the individual and community levels, but also at the industry, city and regional levels. Among other measures, it has designated more than 128 areas around Japan as "Marine Special Areas" . Such designations (totalling 384 national, quasi-national and prefecture parks) have helped maintain marine ecosystems and habitats, ensuring a safe place for the species to regenerate itself..

Source: Environment Agency of Japan, "Environmental Protection Policy in Japan". Tokyo: Environment Agency, 1995.
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