[Press Release] FishWise and Seafood Legacy Sign an MoU to Promote Socially Responsible Seafood in Japan

From left: Ashley Greenley (FishWise), Wakao Hanaoka (Seafood Legacy Co., Ltd.), Erin Taylor (FishWise)
TOKYO/SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (March 24, 2022)—Sustainable seafood organizations Seafood Legacy and FishWise signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) during the 2022 Seafood Expo North America in Boston, USA to collaborate on efforts to advance social responsibility in the Japanese seafood industry.

In recent years, investigations and enforcement actions on human rights abuses and labor issues in supply chains have intensified worldwide. The global seafood industry has found itself grappling with these issues, adding new layers of complexity to ensuring responsible procurement.

Seafood Legacy has been consulting on sustainable seafood with the purpose of ensuring that future generations can inherit the abundant seafood that embodies the deep connections between local communities, fishery economics, and marine ecosystems. Operating under a complementary mission, FishWise has worked to provide innovative market-based tools and partnerships with seafood companies to support environmentally and socially responsible business practices since 2003.

Under the MOU, both parties will collaborate to strengthen responsible business practices regarding human and labor rights in the Japanese seafood industry. Seafood Legacy has been providing advice to companies and will start full-scale initiatives on social issues in the seafood supply chain with FishWise’s support.

Specifically, FishWise will support capacity development for Seafood Legacy’s staff, business partners, and precompetitive roundtables through training and advisory services. In providing this support, FishWise will leverage its Roadmap for Improving Seafood Ethics (RISE), an online platform created to help companies navigate complex human and labor rights challenges and create the conditions for decent work across the seafood industry.

“Businesses have a responsibility to respect labor and human rights by protecting all workers in seafood supply chains,” said Ashley Greenley, FishWise’s Business Engagement Division Director. “This collaboration presents a significant opportunity to embed effective human rights due diligence in one of the largest seafood importing and consuming markets in the world.”

“In addition to the pursuit of environmental sustainability, we are set to begin full-scale efforts to address social issues in the seafood supply chain through corporate support, advocacy, and trainings,” said Wakao Hanaoka, CEO of Seafood Legacy Co., Ltd. “Leveraging FishWise’s expertise on human and labor rights in the global seafood industry, we will first focus on imported seafood, which accounts for about half of Japan’s seafood consumption, and will start working to tackle human rights violations, including forced labor.”

The aim is to ensure that the human rights of all people in Japan and overseas who are involved in the Japanese seafood market are protected, risks to companies and organizations that depend on seafood supply chains are reduced, and Japanese consumers can eat imported seafood with more assurance that their seafood was produced in a responsible way. This wide-ranging effort in Japan, the world’s third largest seafood import market, aims to have a major positive impact on workers in global supply chains.