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Certification first for farmed Japanese coho

26 June 2020, at 12:01am

Marukin, which farms coho salmon in Miyagi prefecture, has become the first coho producer in Japan to acquire Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification.

Marukin's ASC certified coho salmon is now available at AEON
Marukin's ASC certified coho salmon is now available at AEON

The milestone has taken three years to achieve – having started when Marukin launched Japan’s first aquaculture improvement project (AIP) in 2017.

AIPs are collaborative efforts between multiple stakeholders including producers, distributors, NGOs with the purpose of improving the responsibility of aquaculture operations.

Marukin is regarded as a pioneer in the industry – current president, Kinichiro Suzuki, was the first person to successfully commercialize coho salmon aquaculture in 1977. Since then, the company diversified its business by integrating processing and distribution operations in addition to its salmon farms. However, the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent tsunami swept away their entire facility. As Marukin rebuilt they also took efforts to strengthen their company by transitioning to

a more responsible aquaculture, thus leading to the launch of their AIP with the goal of acquiring ASC certification.

In order to obtain ASC certification, Marukin made various improvements including minimising environmental impacts, improving the sustainability of their salmon feed and improving the management of diseases and parasites, as well as introducing company-wide policies addressing social responsibility.

Shingo Suzuki, managing director of Marukin comments, “I am very grateful for our many partner

organizations and businesses because this achievement wouldn’t have been possible without their support. I hope our efforts can motivate other seafood farmers throughout Japan to take on similar endeavours because demand for environmentally friendly farm-raised seafood will continue to rise as wild caught production decreases.”

Shunji Murakami, current vice president of seafood legacy who previously served as director of Ocean Outcomes Japan Program has been working with Marukin since before the AIP started.

“Achieving ASC certification and further contributing to SDG goals after three years of AIP is a proud

moment for Marukin, especially as demand for domestically sourced seafood has increased recently due to the effects of COVID-19 on global seafood trade. I hope this wonderful news will help foster a society in which sourcing of ASC-certified and AIP-sourced products as well as companies that work hand-in-hand with producers to improve sustainability of seafood production continue to increase,” states Murakami.

Koji Yamamoto, general manager of ASC Japan adds: “I am delighted to welcome Marukin to the ASC programme. Currently more than 40 percent of global farmed salmon by volume are already ASC certified, but limited certified volume originated from Japan to date. It is exciting to have the first ASC coho salmon farm in Japan, and I hope that this achievement by Marukin will bring further growth to their business, and also serve as an example for responsible coho salmon farming.”