|Start date||November 2016|
|Scheduled end date||December 2020|
|Location||Tokyo Bay, Chiba Prefecture (under Funabashi Fisheries Cooperative)|
|Participants||Kaiko Bussan Co., Ltd.; Seafood Legacy Co., Ltd.|
|Target species||Japanese sea perch (Lateolabrax japonicus)|
|Fishing equipment||Medium-sized purse seine vessels|
The Japanese sea perch is a species of fish that had served as the cornerstone of Edomae food culture. Tokyo Bay is where the greatest volume of this fish is caught in Japan throughout the year by medium-sized purse seine vessels and small trawlers, with summer being its peak season. Yet, many challenges remain in the background, including the stocks of bycatch species besides the Japanese sea perch, the plummeting catch and production output, and consequently, a decline in the number of fishermen. While the local fishermen of Tokyo Bay rely on the Japanese sea perch fishery industry for their survival, they are also passionate about passing on these precious resources as well as the sustainable method of purse seine fishing to future generations. In order to strike a balance between safeguarding our marine resources and ensuring economic viability, Kaiko Bussan Co., Ltd. has decided to work with our company on this project by seizing the rare opportunity presented by the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
After an MSC pre-assessment was conducted in 2016, this project was launched in November 2016. In order to improve the fishery to the level required for it to be MSC-certified, we created a 5-year plan involving multiple personnel-in-charge and deadlines before getting down to work. In terms of distribution channels, we have introduced the fishery to merchants and hotels that actively procure the products of this project so as to ensure both short- and long-term benefits as well as greater economic viability for the fishery with the ultimate goal of constantly raising its standards of sustainability. For this project, the main areas of improvement include raising the accuracy of stock evaluations and the implementation of suitable stock management measures, establishing a mechanism to ensure the transparency of review and decision-making processes for the implementation.
- March 2016: MSC Pre-assessment
This was the first time the Japanese sea bass fishing industry underwent a pre-assessment to determine compliance with the MSC standards.
- November 2016: Start of FIP
Initiatives were launched to resolve the problems found by the MSC pre-assessment. For example, resource evaluation standard improvement, resource management implementation based on these standards, creation and wide-spread adoption of a framework for securing transparency and acquiring feedback from stakeholders related to execution confirmation and decision-making process for management measures, and minimizing the impact of fisheries on the ecosystem all require cooperation with numerous management authorities.
- May 2017: Start of FIP Full Year Catch Information Registration and Catch Sampling Implementation
Recorded catch information, including information related to bycatch fish species and endangered, threatened, and protect ETP species, and implemented sampling.
- June 2017: Traceability Survey
Extracted issues related to traceability.
- June 2018: Alliance of Recreational and Industry Fishermen Established
With the goal of achieving sustainability for the Japanese sea bass resources in Tokyo Bay, an alliance was formed including both recreation and industry fishermen (round haul net and trawl fishing), and the members discussed management and protection measures for these resources.
- August 2018: Drafting of a Proposal for Improvement of Management Policy
Analyzed the discrepancies between current conditions and the management policy required by the MSC certification standards. Drafted a proposal to bridge the gap.
- September 2018: Began Cooperation with Stakeholders
Started discussions related to management measures for the improvement of resource evaluation and based on resource status with the Chiba Prefectural Fisheries Experiment Station, Chiba Prefectural Fisheries Division Resource Management Group, and Funabashi Fisheries Cooperative.
- March 2019: Held the “Tokyo Bay Fisheries Resource Future Consideration Meeting”
Currently holding regular study sessions with the Funabashi Fisheries Cooperative focused on topics such as necessary resource management for the development and sustainability of the shore areas and smart fisheries.
- 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.
- November 2019: Became the 1st champion of the Japan Sustainable Seafood Awards
“Japan’s First Next-Generation Traceability System Construction Project”
- June 2020: Provided FIP Sea Perch for Chefs for the Blue “Smile Food Project” Lunchboxes
FIP Sea Perch 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.
- July 2020: Introduced a Digital Catch Information Records System
Started catch information recording during operations using tablet devices. In addition to catch species, catch volume, and catch location, began incorporating cases of encountering endangered species and fishing equipment contacting the ocean floor into these records as well.
- September 2020: Ocean to Table Project Launched
In collaboration with IBM Japan Ltd. and IX Knowledge, Inc., launched a project to achieve complete traceability by linking data from fishing grounds and consumption areas using blockchain technology.