With the recent introduction of ASC certified oyster in one of Japan’s largest retail chain, Kasumi Co. Ltd., ASC certified seafood is quickly gaining popularity and wider recognition in this fish-loving nation. The initiative of Kasumi to introduce locally sourced certified oysters was strongly supported by the wholesaler Ibaraki Suisan Co. Ltd., which achieved its Chain of Custody certification and logo licencing in September this year.
“It was not an easy task to source certified products initially, but now we are so pleased that we can offer our customers ASC certified processed oysters. We will continue to accommodate the requests for certified seafood from our partners, and we will work on reinforcing the strong relationship with the producers who provide us with the certified seafood,” said Takashi Horie, Sales Manager Ibaraki Suisan.
“I commend Ibaraki Suisan for taking the initiative to start sourcing and selling the locally produced ASC certified oyster. This is a perfect example of how the supply chain can successfully work together to bring responsibly farmed seafood to the market, thereby providing end-consumers an opportunity to make a responsible choice when eating fish,” said Esther Luiten, ASC Senior Commercial Manager.
Locally produced certified oysters
Ibaraki Suisan sources its ASC certified oysters from farms operating in the city of Ishinomaki, Miyagi prefecture in northeastern Japan, which are still recovering from the destruction caused by the tsunami that followed the devastating Tōhoku earthquake in March 2011.
The Shizugawa Branch of the Miyagi Prefecture Fisheries Co-operative became the first farming collective in Japan to achieve ASC certification on in March 2016. Prior to the tsunami, local smallholders ran intensive family farms that became overcrowded and unsustainable. Following the earthquake, a sustainable farming area was established that reduced farming facilities to one third of that before, and as a result the quality of the oysters have also improved.
Robust traceability assurance and standards
ASC labelled products can be traced back through the supply chain to a responsibly managed farm. Companies are assessed against strict requirements before they can become ASC Chain of custody certified. This assures consumers that the ASC labelled seafood they buy has been sourced legally from a certified responsible source, has been separated from non-certified seafood, and can be traced along the supply chain from farm to the final sale.
The ASC bivalves standard carries the most robust global requirements for clam, mussel, oyster and scallop farming. Farms that are certified against the standard must demonstrate that they use responsible aquaculture practices that minimise their environmental and social impact. By adhering to the ASC standard, certified farms deliver a cleaner seabed, cleaner water and healthier seafood; minimise impacts on the local ecosystem; do not use harmful pesticides; and ensure social responsibility based on the core principles of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).