Fixed-net operating company Jogasaki is model case for benefits of Japan’s fishery reform

Japanese workers sorting skipjack tuna near the city of Chiba
Japanese workers sorting skipjack tuna near the city of Chiba | Photo courtesy of Dane Gillett/Shutterstock
4 Min

Local Japanese cooperatives remain wary of a change to Japan’s Basic Fisheries Law that grants corporations access to both aquaculture sites and fishery grounds in certain instances, but one fixed-net operator is showing how the change can be beneficial to the country’s seafood industry.

The change was first introduced in 2018 and, among other alterations, allows corporations to participate in Japan’s coastal fishery, where access was previously just reserved for local fishing cooperatives.

Subsequently, cooperatives have been circumspect that the change might lose them their access or that corporations would not display the same commitment to the local economy and society as they do.

However, Japan’s first joint-stock, fixed-net fishery operation has highlighted how such a change can lead to beneficial investment and innovation.

Ito, Japan-based Jogasaki Kaigan Tomito Fixed Net Co. became the first corporation that gained operational control over a fixed-net fishery under the reform. It separated from a local fishery cooperative and became a joint-stock company in August 2021.

Since then, the company’s employees have enjoyed guaranteed salaries, and Jogasaki has streamlined and expanded shipping routes thanks to increased resources and capabilities.

Cooperative fishery workers typically receive payment as a share of the revenue from their catch, but Jogasaki’s employees are paid a set salary. Though the salary is not too different from cooperative pay on average, the company does offer regular payments in an industry where such a system can be rare.

Additionally, the private ownership of Jogasaki allows the company to ship its products directly to partner supermarkets and explore other sales channels, including e-commerce. The company also has the resources to introduce new technology, such as fish-finder radars and cameras the company plans to trial.

Other efforts that the company’s private ownership has allowed it to pursue include aquaculture, with Jogasaki aiming to grow mackerel and trout on pellet feed and on fish caught in fixed nets that are too small to be shipped.

Though Jogasaki has been a success story and has used the change to its benefit, cooperatives are still worried this change could wipe out their livelihoods, citing conflicts with existing fishermen, resource depletion, lack of cooperation between privately owned companies and cooperative businesses, marine pollution, and the decline of fishing village communities as issues the change has brought forth.

Those in local fishing towns, though, generally concede that their types of businesses are in decline and that something must be done, especially as the country’s workforce is aging and not enough children of fishing families are succeeding their parents in their line of work.

SeafoodSource Premium

Become a Premium member to unlock the rest of this article.

Continue reading ›

Already a member? Log in ›


Want seafood news sent to your inbox?

You may unsubscribe from our mailing list at any time. Diversified Communications | 121 Free Street, Portland, ME 04101 | +1 207-842-5500
Secondary Featured Article