Kyokuyo launches scallops-focused joint venture with Clear Ocean Seafood

The exterior of Jokki's processing facility in Hakodate
Kyokuyo is launching a new joint venture with Clear Ocean Seafood, using its subsidiary Jokki's plant in Hakodate as a new processing facility for scallops from Hokkaido | Photo courtesy of Kyokuyo
4 Min

Tokyo, Japan-based Kyokuyo, the fourth-largest seafood company in Japan based on total sales, is launching a new joint venture with British Columbia, Canada-based Clear Ocean Seafood.

Kyokuyo said in a release that the joint venture will specialize in processing and exporting scallops from the Japanese province of Hokkaido to expand the company’s exports. Kyokuyo is putting JPY 80 million (USD 517,700, EUR 485,100) into the JV, which will be established in July 2024 and begin operations in September 2024. 

The JV will be divided among three major shareholders, with Clear Ocean Seafood holding a 49 percent share, Kyokuyo Co. having a 41 percent share, and Kyokuyo subsidiary Jokki taking a 10 percent share. Jokki, established in 1964, has been a subsidiary of Kyokuyo since 2008. 

Hokkaido scallops are “becoming increasingly popular overseas,” including in the North American market where Clear Ocean is based, Kyokuyo said. Clear Ocean has already established itself as an importer of Hokkaido sea scallops through strategic partnerships. The Clear Ocean JV will take advantage of Kyokuyo’s sourcing experience and Clear Ocean’s supply chain, Kyokuyo said. 

“Clear Ocean Seafoods has a proven track record of selling scallops and other shellfish products in the North American market,” Kyokuyo said in a release.

Kyokuyo will perform the raw material procurement and processing, and then build a scallop production system “that is less dependent on overseas processing,” the company said.

“Processing will be carried out using a new production line built at the Hakodate Factory (Hokuto City, Hokkaido) of Jokki Co.,” Kyokuyo said.

In its Q3 2023 financial report, Kyokuyo said its medium-term business plan is to focus on shifting from exporting Japan-produced seafood to producing and selling seafood overseas. That involves opening more overseas production facilities and developing products specifically targeting overseas markets.

In the U.S., scallops from Hokkaido have been filling in gaps in supply caused by a lower scallop quota in the Northeast U.S. Japan has been working to establish new markets for its seafood after China instituted a ban on all seafood products from the country in response to the release of radioactive wastewater from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.

Multiple Japanese companies, including companies specializing in Hokkaido scallops, told SeafoodSource in September 2023 that the move was already having an impact on their business, with many of them urging the Japanese government to work to assuage overseas fears related to wastewater releases. 

The joint venture comes three months after Kyokuyo acquired Turkish seafood processor Kocaman Su Ürünleri İhracat ve İthalat Ticaret. The move was designed to strengthen Kyokuyo’s production and sales in Europe. 

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