|Start date||October 2017|
|Scheduled end date||September 2020|
|Location||Nachi-Katsuura, Wakayama Prefecture|
|Participants||Kaio Maru No. 78; Yamasa Wakiguchi Tuna Company; Seafood Legacy Co., Ltd.|
|Target species||Albacore tuna (Thunnus alalunga)|
|Fishing equipment||Longline fishing|
The Nachi-Katsuura Port of Wakayama Prefecture is one of the largest ports in Japan for the landing of fresh tuna. Although tuna has been extremely important to the area’s economy and culture since ancient times, the catch of different tuna species around the world has been steadily declining, with the catch of bluefin tuna in Nachi-Katsuura also declining since the 2000s. In view of this situation, the tuna wholesaler Yamasa Wakiguchi Tuna Company has formulated a set of proprietary procurement guidelines that only permit the handling of seafood that has been produced in a sustainable manner. The company has also undergone an MSC pre-assessment for albacore tuna, bigeye tuna, yellowfin tuna, and bluefin tuna in 2012.
The results of the MSC pre-assessment indicated that certification would be possible if important issues pertaining to the longline fishing of albacore tuna and yellowfin tuna could be satisfactorily resolved. This prompted Yamasa Wakiguchi Tuna Company to launch this project in October 2017 in collaboration with the tuna supplier Kaio Maru No. 78 (a registered Oita longliner) to ensure a sustainable stock of albacore tuna moving forward. Since November 2017, the company has also sought to raise awareness among general consumers through the sale of albacore tuna at 20 Seiyu stores. At the same time, it has received generous funding to offset part of the expenses for this project. We aim to improve the company to the level required for it to be MSC-certified by September 2022. For this project, the main areas of improvement include developing strategies to monitor and track information on non-target species more accurately, implementing a provisional tracking system from the time the fish is caught to its point of sale in line with the management standards required for MSC certification, developing an execution plan for a preventive control and management framework, as well as monitoring the record of actions taken in response to marine encounters with seabirds and turtles.
- March 2016: MSC Pre-assessment
This was the first case of Japan’s albacore tuna fishery undergoing a pre-assessment to determine compliance with MSC standards.
- November 2016: FIP Launched
Initiatives were launched to resolve the problems found by the MSC pre-assessment. Examples include verification and introduction of measures for minimizing the impact of fisheries on ecosystems related to bycatch species, such as sea birds, endangered and protected species, and other animal resources, as well as clarification of the decision-making process in the formulation and management of the catch control rules of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC).
- November 2017~: Launch of Sales Trials at Seiyu GK
This project was expanded to product sales at Seiyu GK (20 stores).
- March 2018: Introduction of Bycatch Species Monitoring and Countermeasures
Verified the effects of fishing on bycatch species, including sea birds, endangered and protected species, and other animal resources and verified and introduced measures for minimizing the effects on ecosystems.
- May 2018: Traceability Survey
Extracted the current traceability situation and issues through distribution channel data from catch points to the end markets.
- July 2018: Began Discussions with Management Organizations
Conducted discussions regarding clarification of management decision-making processes and catch restriction rules.
- April 2019: Opinion Exchange Meeting with Related Parties in the Local Area
Held an opinion exchange meeting on the future expansion of FIP with related parties such as the Yamasa Wakiguchi Fisheries, Wakayama Prefectural Fisheries Division, Nachikatsuura Fisheries Cooperative, and town hall officials.
- December 2019: Participated in the Annual WCPFC Meeting
Two staff members from the Seafood Legacy Fishing and Sciences Section participated in the WCPFC annual meeting.