ASC was the only certification scheme present at the recent general meeting of the Japanese Seriola Initiative (JSI), a group of producers working towards greater sustainability and transparency in their industry.
JSI was founded in 2018 in order to work together pre-competitively to improve practices, and members include Japan’s biggest seriola producers, as well as feed companies. This year’s general meeting took place in Fukuoka on March 14.
ASC has been involved in the group from its inception, and ASC’s standard is used to guide the group’s objectives and performance. Several of the members are already ASC certified with another currently undergoing certification.
ASC Japan’s Commercial Manager, Koji Yamamoto, was present at the annual general meeting to answer questions, receive feedback and provide guidance.
“We’re very happy to see this kind of collaboration and help where we can,” said Koji. “There were a number of tangible actions and constructive questions from members at this year’s meeting, which demonstrates how proactive they are in working with ASC to improve practices.”
“I’m excited to see Japan’s major producers working pre-competitively to drive up standards, because Japan is an important country for this fish, both as a producer and consumer.”
Seriola farming is an important part of the Japanese economy, representing the largest output of the country’s aquaculture industry both in terms of volume and value. Its quality is valued by sushi chefs, while its versatility means it can be prepared in a number of ways.
While most seriola produced in Japan is currently consumed by the domestic market, producers are increasingly looking to export their products to markets such as the US.
“There are a number of motivations for these producers to ensure responsible practices and transparency, not least to aid access to new markets overseas,” said Koji.
The members of JSI include Kurose Suisan Kaisha Ltd., the first ASC certified seriola producer in the world; Maruha Nichiro – also ASC certified; and Azuma-Cho Fishery Cooperative, Japan’s largest seriola producer currently in assessment for ASC certification. Associate members include a number of feed producers, enabling to group to work towards greater responsibility along the supply chain. WWF Japan played a role in the group’s establishment.