April 24, 2015
(Tokyo) Friends of the Earth Japan is joining with the rest of the world on April 25 in 2015 to celebrate World Penguin Day. This day is full of meaning not only for the penguin world but also for the human world.
For the penguins, this date coincides with the annual northern migration of Adelie penguins, one of six breeding species of penguins that are native to Antarctica (others are Emperor, King, Chinstrap, Gentoo, and Macaroni penguins). They spend 75% of their lives at seas, so it's vital to their survival that humans protect the oceans around Antarctica.
What about the human connection? World Penguin Day is a milestone on the way to an important international meeting this October in Hobart, Australia, where it is hoped that, after years of negotiations, a series of marine protected areas (MPAs) will be created in two regions of the Antarctic -- the Ross Sea and East Antarctica. For several years, the Commission on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) has been discussing the creation of these MPAs. There is general support, but some member countries have been reluctant, concerned that they might restrict future fishing activities. MPAs are one of the best tools we have to ensure that our oceans remain healthy and vibrant far into the future. Elsewhere in the world MPAs have proven to be beneficial for many reasons, even for fishers. Japan already has experience with MPAs, with over 150 of various types around the islands of Japan.
Japan is a crucial member country of CCAMLR and has a crucial role to play in negotiations. FoE Japan is working with other organizations in Japan to follow the negotiations, identify issues, and encourage the government to support the creation of these MPAs.
Back to World Penguin Day, there are other penguin species besides the six endemic to Antarctica. Most penguins are monogamous and have distinct calls, enabling them to locate their mates in large groups. Penguin species lay up to two eggs per mating season with the Emperor and King penguins laying only one egg. Alarmingly, of the 17 recognized living species, 11 have been listed as Vulnerable or Endangered.
This year, special materials and activities around the world, led by the Antarctic Ocean Alliance, include
1. Watch for tweets from @antarcticocean on twitter.
2. Take the penguin knowledge quiz:
3. Watch video "Threats to Penguin Habitats: What We Can Do" https://youtu.be/Bs1z368H6ks
4. Watch video "Emperor Penguins: Amazing Dives"
5. Sign the petition at www.antarcticoocean.org
For more information or to support our efforts, please contact FoE Japan.
Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition: ASOC.org (FoE Japan is a member)
Antarctic Ocean Alliance: antarcticocean.org
Commission on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR): http://www.ccamlr.org/
Japan’s chance to develop Antarctic marine sanctuary (by Yuri Onodera and Claire Christian, The Japan Times op ed, 9-Oct-2014): http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2014/10/09/commentary/japan-commentary/japans-chance-to-develop-antarctic-marine-sanctuary/
Japan has a role to play in Antarctic marine protection right now (by Mayuko Yanai and Claire Christian, in The Japan Times, 31-Oct-2012): http://www.foejapan.org/en/news/121101.html
If only every day was World Penguin Day (7:03)
Japan already has many Marine Protected Areas. More information:
World Database on Protected Areas: http://www.protectedplanet.net/
A message from ASOC's executive director, Mark Epstein, on World Penguin Day (April 24, 2014)
Materials in Japanese