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Irabu fishermen lose court case against divers

Date Posted: 1998-10-09

Naha District Court handed down its ruling, Oct. 1, on a long standing dispute between local dive tour operators in Miyako Island and Irabu Fishermen’s Association. In their suit, Irabu Fismerhen’s Association claimed that six local dive tour operators’ activities disturbed their fishing operations and were responsible for their diminishing catches in the area. They were seeking for a court ordered ban on scuba diving in the disputed area.

In its ruling, the court ruled that there is no evidence that scuba diving is responsible for or has any effect on the diminishing fish catch in the area. The court also ruled that there is no law or common principle forbidding or restricting scuba diving at a site in the sea.

The court had tried to negotiate a settlement in the dispute, but at the end neither side agreed. The fishermen’s union insisted on the dive tour operators paying a fee of ¥400 per customer to the union, while the tour operators stuck to their position that they pay ¥100 per customer at most.

Even though the court now has ruled in the favor of the dive tour operators, it is likely that the dispute will go on with both sides sticking to their positions.

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