Conference on seabird conservation starts in Hokkaido

Kyodo

Seabird experts and researchers from Japan and the United States on Saturday opened a four-day conference in the town of Haboro, Hokkaido, to discuss conservation measures for seabirds.

The Japan-U.S. Seabird Symposium 2002, organized by the Environment Ministry, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Haboro municipal government, is the first international conference on seabirds in Japan, the organizers said.

The conference began with a public symposium involving some 200 participants, followed by two workshop gatherings over the next two days and an excursion on the final day.

During the conference, participants will not only examine conservation issues involving seabirds in Japan and the U.S., but will also discuss preservation of the entire marine environment, based on the physical conditions of seabirds that traverse the North Pacific, the organizers said.

In an address to the symposium, Daizaburo Kuroda, an Environment Ministry official in charge of wildlife, said a decline in the population of seabirds is a critical situation.

“I hope this conference will provide an opportunity to look into how humans and seabirds can coexist and enjoy the ocean’s bounty,” he said.

According to the Haboro-based Hokkaido Sea Bird Center, 22 of the 38 seabird species in Japan are listed in the ministry’s Red Data book, which registers wildlife that are threatened with extinction.