Japanese supermarket chain promoting science-based North Atlantic pelagic quotas with NGO

The Japanese Consumers’ Co-operative Union has joined the North Atlantic Pelagic Advocacy Group.

The North Atlantic Pelagic Advocacy Group (NAPA) on 19 July announced its first member company from Asia: the Japanese Consumers’ Co-operative Union (JCCU).

NAPA was launched in 2019, in response to the loss of Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification for several key pelagic stocks. The group was also established to address the trend of countries in the Northeast Atlantic region unilaterally setting quotas higher than is scientifically advised. Since its inception, NAPA has attracted over 40 members, including foodservice businesses, processors, buyers, and retailers. It calls for joint coastal state action to collaboratively manage blue whiting, mackerel, and herring.

Japan is a major importer of mackerel from the region, primarily from Norway. JCCU joining NAPA signifies the global significance of well-managed pelagic stocks, according to NAPA Chair Aoife Martin.

“NAPA is growing and growing – and we are delighted to welcome the Japanese Consumers’ Co-operative Union (JCCU) to our collective of supply chain businesses who are vocal about their investment in a long-term, sustainable future for seafood from the Northeast Atlantic. This really underlines the global importance of getting management for these pelagic stocks right – buyers, processors and consumers everywhere want to see coastal states in the region stepping up and taking collaborative action,” Martin said.

NAPA encourages countries in the North Atlantic to cooperate in fish stock management by following the scientific guidance of the Copenhagen, Denmark-based International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES). However, disputes among coastal states over quota allocations spurred Norway and the Faroe Islands to unilaterally set their own quotas for 2020. When an agreement set to expire in 2020 was not renewed in 2019, MSC suspended certification of the mackerel fishery. The two countries have again set independent quotas this year, with Norway increasing its share of the overall quota based on a Northeast shift in mackerel distribution.

NAPA started a policy fishery improvement project (FIP) in June that consists mainly of a campaign to press the parties managing the stocks – Norway, the Faroe Islands, the E.U., and the U.K. – to come back to the table and approve a new management plan based on ICES recommendations. Individual members will support the policy FIP through their own correspondence with coastal states ahead of the coastal states meeting in October 2021, as well as collectively through NAPA. NAPA members represent the majority of Northeast Atlantic pelagic purchasing.

Photo courtesy of the North Atlantic Pelagic Advocacy Group


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