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Poaching shall never be forgiven: Fisheries

Agency’s anti-poaching measures(How Japan prevents fish poaching and controls fishing)

Over recent years illegal poaching has become a serious problem. Particularly, abalones and sea cucumbers have been subject to organized poaching across wide areas as they inhabit coastal areas and are easily caught. Also notable are poaching activities performed by the general public throughout the country for their personal consumption who are not well informed of the rules applied to resource management. Poaching is an act that seriously affects the production activities of the fishing industry and the existing aquatic resources. The Fisheries Agency strictly addresses poaching in an effort aimed at its prevention.
[Brochure] Poaching shall never be forgiven: Anti-coastal poaching measures(PDF : 366KB)


How poaching is occurring

The number of arrests made in 2018 across the country by the Maritime Safety Agency and prefectural police departments due to breaches of fisheries-related laws and regulations (poaching) totaled 1,569 (including 1,484 cases of marine poaching and 85 cases of inland poaching).

Over recent years there has been a decrease in the number of illegal operations by fishery operators while poaching by non-fishery operators has continued to rise.

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Current situation of fish poaching(PDF : 826KB)

Stronger Penalties

In view of the illegal poaching incidents that have occurred in recent years we have substantially strengthened the penalties in the Fisheries Act revised in 2018 (which now imposes 3-year imprisonment or a 30-million-yen penalty as a maximum.)
The 30-million-yen penalty is the maximum penalty to be imposed on an individual and is expected to greatly help with the prevention of poaching.

Collection or capture of the Specified Aquatic Animals or Plants (enforced on Dec. 1, 2020)

Penalty: Imprisonment of up to 3 years or a fine not exceeding 30 million yen Punishable act: Collecting or capturing any specified aquatic animal or plant (abalones, sea cucumbers or glass eels*) not pursuant to permission or fishing right.
*Relating to glass eels, the offender shall be subject to a 3-year suspended sentence. (enforced in and after December 2023)

Distribution of poached marine resources

Penalty: Imprisonment of up to 3 years or a fine not exceeding 30 million yen Punishable act: Act of knowingly intermediating or serving for the transportation, custody, acquisition or disposal of any specified aquatic animal or plant that has been poached.

Stronger anti-poaching measures and applicable penalties(PDF : 158KB)
Revision of the Fisheries Act and the system of penalties(PDF : 89KB)

Efforts made by the Fisheries Agency and other bodies

Controlling of poaching and collaboration with related agencies

Along with coast guard officers and police officers the fisheries supervisors appointed from among staff members of the Fisheries Agency or other official bodies and fisheries supervising officers appointed from among prefectural staff members are in charge of controlling poaching.
We will continue to intensify our control of poaching in the future in collaboration with the Fisheries Agency, police and other prefectural organizations concerned.
We will also promote comprehensive anti-poaching measures including information sharing, support for anti-poaching measures and the wider education of the general public about anti-poaching rules.

Efforts by prefectures and fishery operators

For their part prefectures and fishery operators are also engaged in activities aimed at educating people about the rules applied to resources control, supervision of fishing grounds during the night or the off season including giving warnings in an effort to prevent poaching.

Hokkaido Aomori P. Iwate P. Miyagi P. Akita P. Yamagata P.
Fukushima P. Ibaraki P. Tochigi P. Gunma P. Saitama P. Chiba P.
Tokyo P. Kanagawa P. Niigata P. Toyama P. Ishikawa P. Fukui P.
Yamanashi P. Nagano P. Gifu P. Shizuoka P. Aichi P. Mie P.
Shiga P. Kyoto P. Osaka P. Hyogo P. Nara P. Wakayama P.
Tottori P. Shimane P. Okayama P. Hiroshima P. Yamaguchi P. Tokushima P.
Kagawa P. Ehime P. Kochi P. Fukuoka P. Saga P. Nagasaki P.
Kumamoto P. Oita P. Miyazaki P. Kagoshima P. Okinawa P.

*Japanese Version Only

Related information (Japanese Version Only)

Fisheries policy reform
Recreational Fishing Office
Fisheries Enforcement Headquarters