What is Seafood Legacy?
Seafood Legacy is a consulting firm that supports sustainable seafood businesses and environmental organizations in Japan and around the world. It was formed to develop the partnerships necessary to solve the complex problems of sustainable seafood supply chains. By tapping into the experience of the global sustainability community and connecting it to innovative, forward-looking businesses in Japan, we hope to transform the Japanese seafood market, support our ocean resources, and build a better future.
In Japan, despite gradual advances in corporate social responsibility, the topic of ocean conservation has received little attention. There are a growing number of examples of international companies partnering successfully with NGOs to use science and sound business plans for better resource management.
At Seafood Legacy, we believe Japan is on the brink of change. Seafood is too precious to its food culture, and fisheries too much a part of its coastal economy, for business as usual to continue. Without strong government leadership for policy reform in Japan, business and NGOs need to become drivers of change to preserve our seafood legacy.
Our Ideal World
Enduring, Thriving Seas
Seafood Legacy wants to build a society in which thriving oceans provide livelihoods, resources, and joy to future generations.
Designing Seafood Sustainability in Japan—Together
Our oceans need us to take immediate action. Businesses and NGOs working together are key to finding solutions to preserve our seafood legacy.
The name of our company, Seafood Legacy, reflects our desire to have a world in which Japan’s rich seafood traditions and its connections to abundant and enduring seas are passed onto future generations. Our logo symbolizes the unbroken circle of businesses and NGOs—Japanese and international—who share a common vision to produce solutions so that nature, society, and businesses are all thriving.
The Problems We Face
Many fisheries around the world are harvested beyond their sustainable levels. This, combined with complex factors such as coastal development, marine pollution, and climate change, has brought us to a breaking point. The reaction to this scarcity by fishing harder spurs on the negative cycle, removing even more seafood from the oceans, dining tables and businesses of the future.
Depleting Stocks and Endangered Species
The ocean is a self-replenishing resource that can provide protein to feed large numbers of our growing population—as long as we harvest it at sustainable levels. However, the fishing industry is currently harvesting beyond the ocean’s capacity to replenish. And it is exacerbating the problem by catching juveniles and destroying sensitive ecosystems with catch gear and bycatch of protected and endangered species.
IUU Fishing and Human Right Abuse
Rampant illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing undermines sound resource management policies. For example, transshipment of tuna at sea hides tuna with IUU origin. In the complex seafood supply chain, it is almost impossible to distinguish those once they are mixed. Those fisheries often associate with human right abuse. Human trafficking, slavery, and other abuses of fishery workers are serious issue in long, complicated, and often untraceable seafood supply chains.
Message from the Founder
Managing Director, Seafood Legacy
Excessive fishing practices, coupled with other complex factors, have accelerated the collapse of the world’s marine ecosystems. The regenerative power of the natural world, and the pace at which humankind works to protect the marine environment, cannot keep up with the speed at which this collapse is occurring.
In 2014, the traditional Japanese fare of Japanese eel and Pacific bluefin tuna were listed as IUCN endangered and vulnerable species, respectively. This came one year after Japanese cuisine was registered as a World Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. At the same time, Tokyo was named as the host of the 2020 Summer Olympic Games. Both the Rio and London Olympics committees made seafood sustainability commitments, and it is now up to Japan to decide how it wants the world to see its commitment to sustainable oceans.
The oceans are a wealth for humankind to share and something we borrow from future generations. What kind of approach should Japan—a country foremost in the global fisheries industry—take at this time?
For the past 15 years, I have been involved in activities and market campaigns aimed at protecting the marine ecosystem. Today, when we cannot rely on government initiative, it is business that holds the key to finding solutions—through partnerships with environmental organizations that support more sustainable business practices.
I believe that there is still time, that through the formation of partnerships between businesses and environmental organizations, we can solve our global fishery problems and create thriving oceans. And I believe that Japan—with its historical connection to the ocean—can be a key player in making it possible. Seafood Legacy was formed in July 2015 to make Japan a stronger player in seafood sustainability. We support partnerships between businesses and NGOs to find solutions best suited to Japanese business and culture while learning from global examples. Together, we will secure productive and enduring seas.
In United States, Wakao Hanaoka specialized in marine environmental science and marine biology. After graduating from university, he started his career in marine conservation by conducting research on the seafloor in the Maldives and establishing an eco-friendly prawn farm in Malaysia. In July 2007, he joined Greenpeace Japan as their senior ocean campaigner. He led the lobby to push for governmental change as well as started the Sustainable Seafood Market Project in Japan. In 2014, he resigned from his position at Greenpeace Japan to build Japanese-centric solutions for seafood sustainability by addressing the importance of domestic business-led initiatives.
- GSSI (Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative), Steering Board
- GSRA (Global Seafood Rating Alliance), Member
- CASS (Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solution), Collaborator
- The Cabinet Office Council for Promotion of Regulatory Reform Fishery Working Group, Expert Advisor