|Start date||April 2019|
|Scheduled end date||April 2023|
|Participants||Barrel-Drift Group at the Tomamae branch of the Kita-Rumoi Fisheries Cooperative; Wakkanai Fisheries Research Institute Fisheries Research Department, Hokkaido Research Organization; Seafood Legacy, Co., Ltd.|
|Target species||Giant Pacific octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini)|
|Fishing equipment||Barrel-drift fishing|
|Production volume||Around 51 mt|
Located near the northern Sea of Japan in Hokkaido, Tomamae is a port town that boasts a high self-sufficiency ratio with numerous wind turbines, thriving primary industries, and over 10% of its population engaged in the local fishing industry. Although the giant Pacific octopus can be caught locally throughout the year, this project aims to establish the sustainable practice of voluntarily operating only during the peak season of March to June between the hours of 5 AM and 2 PM in view of the timing of its high season and considerations related to resource conservation. The fishing method used is the good old method of barrel-drift fishing which is ocean-friendly and generates an extremely low bycatch. While the barrel-drift fishing method used at Tomamae offers relatively stable catch and accounts for around 25% of the barrel-drift catch from the Kita-Rumoi Channel, the catch for giant Pacific octopus has plummeted by around two-thirds in the period from 2006 to 2014, resulting in a net loss of 130 million yen and a sharp decline in the number of fishery management organizations in the area. This project was launched with the goal of raising the sustainability levels of barrel-drift fisheries while simultaneously strengthening their competitiveness and raising consumer awareness.
Given that the fishing method employed by barrel-drift fisheries has been widely acknowledged to be accessible for newcomers to the industry, ensuring the sustainability of barrel-drift fisheries is expected to generate new employment opportunities and catalyze the development of the entire region. At the same time, because the giant Pacific octopus that inhabits the area from Wakkanai to Otaru is believed to be part of the same stock, launching the project from Tomamae will allow us to progress towards our ultimate goal of transforming the giant Pacific octopus barrel-drift fisheries in the Kita-Rumoi Channel and eventually those across the entire Sea of Japan into a sustainable industry. Based on our 5-year action plan, we will gather catch-related information and establish a system in collaboration with fisheries research institutes to allow the participating fisheries cooperatives to take over and conduct stock evaluations. In addition, we will be implementing suitable stock management measures, analyzing the impact on the stocks of feeds and managing these stocks as necessary, as well as formulating and implementing harvest strategies on the basis of precautionary principles. We will also seek to expand new sales channels and raise consumer awareness while reviewing our distribution channels and conducting PR activities.
- March 2018: MSC Pre-assessment
Implemented a simple examination of the fishery based on the MSC certification standards to determine high-priority environmental issues. The issues identified included sophistication of resource evaluation and management, as well as the impact of the bait species used by the fishery.
- April 2019: FIP Launched
Developed an FIP activity plan to address the issues identified by the simple examination. This activity plan includes collecting catch information which will contribute to sophistication of resource evaluation, analyzing the impact of bait species and conducting management if necessary, and enacting and implementing prevention-based catch policies.
- August 2019: Tomamae Giant Pacific Octopus Management Targets Conference
Held a conference with the Wakkanai Fisheries Experiment Station on the management targets for Tomamae giant pacific octopus.
- August 2019: Began Investigation of the Bait Volume Used in the Barrel Fishing Industry
Launched investigation of the bait used for giant pacific octopus barrel fishing.
- September 2019: First FIP Progress Meeting
Held a meeting with the Ogasawara clan, Kita Rumoi Fishery Cooperative Association Tomamae Branch, and Wakkanai Fisheries Experiment Station to confirm progress six months after starting the FIP.
- October 2019: Participated in the Asia Pacific Regional FIP Community of Practice Workshop
Participated in this workshop for the Asia Pacific Region. Fellow FIP implementers shared lessons, challenges, and successes with one another.
- April 2020: Began Discussions with Local Fisheries Officials Related to Expansion of FIP Giant Pacific Octopus Sales Channels
Started discussions with FIP fisheries industry personnel, the Kita Rumoi Fishery Cooperative, local processing and distribution contracts, and other related fishing industry parties regarding the distribution system needed to meet the domestic market demand for FIP giant pacific octopus.
- July 2020: FIP Giant Pacific Octopus Provided for Chefs for the Blue “Smile Food Project” Lunchboxes
FIP giant pacific octopus was used as an ingredient for Chefs for the Blue, a project in which top chefs made special lunchboxes to be delivered to the medical professionals working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- September 2020: Discussion with the Tomamae Fishing Subcommittee Regarding a Harvest Control Rule
Carried out discussions with the Kita Rumoi Fishery Cooperative Association Tomamae Branch, Tomamae Fishing Subcommittee, and Wakkanai Fisheries Experiment Station to establish a Harvest Control Rule during the giant pacific octopus fishing season.