Japanese pole-and-line tuna fishery enters MSC assessment
Ishihara Marine Products Co. Ltd. of Yaizu City, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan has entered its pole-and-line skipjack and albacore tuna fisheries for assessment against the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standards.
The assessment, which will cover stock health, impact on the marine environment and management of the fishery, will be carried out by an independent assessment body, ME Certification Ltd., Michiko Makino, MSC Japan Communications Manager announced on 19 December.
Ishihara Marine Products Co. Ltd., founded in 1964, caught 1,780 metric tons of skipjack and albacore tuna in 2016. It operates a factory in Yaizu, for braising tuna loins to make “katsuo tataki.” Yaizu is Japan’s biggest tuna port, with many cold storage facilities and good distribution access to Tokyo and Nagoya. Tourists can visit the factory, eat at a company-operated restaurant, and buy products on-site. The company’s Yoshida factory produces innovative products like its “cheese series” that included cheese and bonito.
Ishihara Marine had previously joined Japan’s domestic certification scheme, Marine Eco-Label (MEL), its website shows, as well as making other sustainability efforts, such as energy saving and reducing its carbon footprint.
“We have continued using the pole-and-line technique in the skipjack and albacore tuna fishery since its establishment. In response to demand for environmentally friendly products, we decided to aim for MSC certification,” Ishihara Fishery executive officer Katsuhiko Yoshinaga said. “If our fisheries are certified, we will be proud to market our tuna products as MSC-certified. We’re happy to be taking this first step on a new journey.”
MSC’s program director for Japan, Kozo Ishii, noted that the Japanese demand for sustainable marine products has been increasing and that the trend will continue with the Tokyo Olympic Games being held in Tokyo in 2020.
The organizing committee for the games has committed to sustainable sourcing for the event, and this is expected to raise awareness of, and demand for, MSC-certified products in Japan.