Orrick Helps Wild Salmon Center in Landmark Pro Bono Project to Protect Japan’s Largest Freshwater Fish

Tokyo – LawFuel.com – Attorney Newswire – A team of lawyers from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP’s Tokyo office has advised on a landmark environmental project to create a protected habitat for the Sea Run Taimen (Itou), Japan’s largest freshwater fish. The project is a joint collaboration between Oji Paper, Japan’s largest paper company, the Wild Salmon Center (WSC), a U.S.-based environmental group, and the Sarufutsu Itou no Kai (SIK), a local group formed to protect the Itou.

Located on the island of Hokkaido, the project represents Japan’s first aquatic biodiversity initiative and will provide a safe haven for the endangered Itou, a fish that can grow to more than two meters long and live for more than 20 years. Known as the Sarufutsu Environmental Conservation Forest, the area spans 2660 hectares (6573 acres) of privately-held timber land and floodplain forests surrounding the Sarufutsu River, which is one of the last wild rivers in Japan. As well as a critical Itou habitat, the area is recognized as one of Japan’s most important wetlands by Japan’s Ministry of the Environment.

Orrick’s pro bono team of Japanese and U.S. qualified lawyers, led by Tokyo managing partner Mark Weeks, helped the WSC to create this important partnership to protect the Itou. Orrick is continuing to work with the WSC and SIK to develop a legal framework for regulating recreational fishing and promoting ecotourism in the area.

Mark Weeks commented: “This is a monumental eco project involving Japan’s legendary freshwater fish and has the full support of local business and environmental groups as well as the Japanese government. Orrick has a global commitment to providing pro-bono legal services to the communities in which we live and work, so we are particularly excited to have been able to help launch this important environmental initiative between the WSC, Oji Paper and SIK.”

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