Tokyo Sustainable Seafood Symposium announces Sustainable Seafood Award winners

Published on
November 23, 2020

The Tokyo Sustainable Seafood Symposium 2020 (TSSS2020) wrapped up on 11 November with a presentation of the Japan Sustainable Seafood Awards, the second time in the symposium’s history that awards were handed out.

TSSS2020, jointly organized by Seafood Legacy Co., Ltd. and Nikkei ESG, was held online this November. The event brought together business experts and leading professionals from the seafood industry, those involved in environment, social, governance investment and governance, coastal fishing communities, and government officials to share the latest knowledge in their respective areas of expertise and to foster innovative collaborations.

Winners were chosen in three categories, collaboration, leadership, and an award recognizing achievement in improving sustainability in the sector.

The Collaboration Award was presented to blockchain-based traceability project “Ocean to Table,” an innovative platform that promotes traceability to help eliminate illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.  

The collaborators were food and beverage company Kaiko Bussan Co., Ltd., based in Kanagawa Prefecture; IBM Japan Ltd., based in Tokyo; technology company IX Knowledge, Inc., based in Tokyo; and Tokyo-based Light House Co., Ltd., developer of the ISANA system for sharing data on fishing equipment among vessels in a fleet.

In order to disseminate catch data collected by the ISANA system, they leveraged the expertise of “Food Trust,” a blockchain service of IBM Corporation. IX Knowledge developed a new application that allows scanning a QR code at different stages in the distribution of products all the way from the fishery site to access relevant information. The products can be purchased at Rakuten’s “Earth Mall.” End users can scan the code to see the distribution history of a fish to verify that it has been caught in line with regulatory requirements.

The Leadership Award winner went to Yokohama-based restaurant chain Kijima Co., Ltd. for its project, “Passing on Delicious Japanese Cuisine and Our Vibrant Seas to Future Generations.”

The company was the first in Japan selling Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)/Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC)-certified seafood. The restaurant also promotes the use of organic and naturally cultivated agricultural products, eliminated synthetic detergents, and uses Forest Stewardship Council-certified forest resources for chopsticks.

Pamphlets and other printed matter are made using renewable resources, and plastic lunchbox meal containers have been replaced with paper and wood. In these ways the company has tried to preserve nature and the ocean, while passing on traditional Japanese food culture.

The Special Award was given to Kesennuma-based Usufukuhonten Co., Ltd. for achieving the first MSC certification for Atlantic bluefin tuna, and for securing a safe and improved work environment for its crew.

The abundance of Atlantic bluefin tuna is recovering, and Usfukuhonten was able to obtain certification in August of this year in recognition of its longstanding efforts to ensure traceability while protecting the quota for the fishery, acording to the TSSS. The company also built a new state-of-the-art fishing vessel that makes it easier for the crew to work and to relax.

Photo courtesy of The Tokyo Sustainable Seafood Symposium 2020

Contributing Editor reporting from Osaka, Japan

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