Shunji Murakami leaves Seafood Legacy to lead Umito Partners
Tokyo, Japan-based Seafood Legacy Co., Ltd. announced that on 1 June, its fishery and science departments, which provided consulting to fishery or aquaculture producers, would become independent as UMITO Partners Inc.'s Shunji Murakami – formerly vice president and COO of Seafood Legacy – left those positions on 31 May to become CEO and president of the new Tokyo-based company.
The move represents an unraveling of the February 2019 merger between Ocean Outcomes Japan, led by Murakami, and Seafood Legacy, led by president and CEO Wakao Hanaoka. Ocean Outcomes Japan's program had mainly managed fishery improvement projects, and also an aquaculture improvement project. The goal of each FIP is ultimately to bring a fishery up to the Marine Stewardship Council’s “unconditional pass” level. UMITO’s stated focus appears similar to that of Ocean Outcomes, though Seafood Legacy’s main focus has been to forge partnerships between sustainable seafood producers and retailers.
“Towards the goal of making Japan’s overall fishing industry more sustainable, our company has provided consulting services to producers, corporates, local governments, and NGOs, but based on our belief in the need for enhanced support through specialized consulting services for producers, the fishery and science department has decided to become independent,” Seafood Legacy said in a statement. “While we will continue on our separate paths as separate organizations working with the overall market and suppliers respectively, we remain committed to our goal of making the fishing industry more sustainable and we humbly ask for your continued support in the future.”
UMITO will provide consulting services for MSC/ASC certification and FIP/AIP management, consulting services for community sustainability, consulting services for sustainable finance, consulting services for business development and support, and platform service for sustainability related business.
“It has been about six years since Seafood Legacy was founded. As the sustainable seafood movement comes of age in Japan, I am very happy to usher in the birth of a new organization that supports this effort,” Hanaoka said. “Our company will continue to use Japan’s best-of-class expertise and foresight in sustainable seafood as well as our rich experience and knowledge in both philanthropy and business and leverage our global network to work with various stakeholders in providing world-standard solutions that are feasible for Japan.”
Photo courtesy of Seafood Legacy