Japan’s first private water protection zone

Japan's largest paper firm will create a protected zone in its timber lands to protect one of the country's last wild salmon rivers.

The decision means Japan will have its first ever conservation area on private land, set up to look after aquatic life.

Oji Paper has made the commitment to create a protected area on its private timber lands surrounding the Sarufutsu River, one of the last wild and free-flowing rivers in Japan.

Located in the northeast of the island of Hokkaido, the Sarufutsu Environmental Conservation Forest, created this week, covers 2660 hectares (6573 acres).

“We believe the creation of the Sarufutsu Environmental Conservation Forest and Sarufutsu Conservation Council represents a win-win for both business and biodiversity conservation,” said Gemmei Shimamura, general manager strategic resource management division for Oji.

“Oji is committed to take the steps necessary to balance the protection of this remarkable natural treasure with sustainable timber harvests.”

According to the company the protected area will safeguard ‘critical habitat’ for the endangered sea run taimen, the largest fresh water fish in Japan which can reach up to one meter in length and live more than 20 years.

“The Sarufutsu Town greatly appreciates Oji Paper for establishing the Sarufutsu Itou Conservation Council,” said Akira Tatsumi, the mayor of Sarufutsu Town.

“We believe the council will become a foundation for sustainable development in our region.”

Luke Walsh

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