The conferment was done by the ambassador of Japan, Norio Maruyama at an intimate event held at the Office of Consul of Japan in Cape Town yesterday. The order is given for distinguished achievements in the advancement of one’s chosen field.
Butterworth, who also previously received South Africa’s highest National Order of Mapungubwe (Silver), has been responsible for developing the scientific methods underlying the management of nearly all South Africa’s major fish species.
He has made major contributions internationally to the analysis and management of bluefin tuna and various whale populations, as well as Antarctic krill and fish species in Canada and the US.
“Naturally, I am very pleased to have my contributions and my field recognised in this way. But I must also acknowledge the role of other colleagues, and my students, in these contributions. They share this honour.
“I must thank Japan for the opportunities it has given me through inclusion on its delegations, and, of course, UCT for allowing me the time to attend the associated meetings.
"These experiences included participation in a case before the International Court of Justice. Indeed, I often describe practice in the fisheries field as one of scientific litigation,” Butterworth said.
“In my experience, if applied scientists want to see their work applied in the real world, they have to be prepared to get involved beyond scientific fora alone.
“So, what has been my main objective in fisheries? To see science used as the sensible appropriate basis to find a middle road compromise between these two extremes. Hopefully, I’ve achieved at least some success there,” he added.
Thanking Butterworth, Maruyama said the conferment was in recognition of his contribution to the sustainable use of the marine living resource of Japan through scientific advisory.
“He has been responsible for developing the scientific methods underlying the management of nearly all South Africa’s major fisheries.
“In the two decades that Professor Butterworth has served on Japan’s delegation to the Scientific Committee of the Commission for the Conservation of southern bluefin tuna, he played a leading role in developing a management approach that saw the highly-threatened resource under international litigation move to a situation where it is well on the route to recovery,” Maruyama said.