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Japanese Scallop Fisheries Enter MSC Assessment

JAPAN - Japanese scallop (Patinopecten yessoensis) fisheries represented by Hokkaido Gyoren (Hokkaido Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Associations), with the largest scallop harvest in the world, are entering into Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) full assessment.

Together, the two enhanced scallop fisheries, hanging (‘Suika-shiki’) and seabed ranching and dredge (‘Keta-Ami”), harvested 433,000 metric tons (un-shucked) in 2008 - the world’s largest landing of scallop of its kind. The catch has been exported mainly to Europe and Southeast Asia.

The Hokkaido Gyoren’s Japanese scallop hanging fishery operates in the Funca bay and the Japan Sea. The seabed culture fishery operates around the north east coast in the Sea of Okhotsk and the eastern side of Hokkaido in the Nemuro Straits. Both fisheries initially collect spat from the wild and operate along the coast 1 km to 10 km offshore in waters that are 15 to 50 meters deep. The Department of Fisheries and Forestry of the Hokkaido Prefecture maintains management responsibility for both fisheries.

Hirokazu Sakide, Exective Officer of Hokkaido Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Association says: “For the Japanese scallop fisheries, operating sustainably with limited impacts on marine eco-systems has always been a priority. Consumers are now increasingly demanding seafood sourced from sustainable and well-managed fishery. This is why all scallop fishermen in Hokkaido decided to seek MSC certification collectively. We hope that the assessment will be successful and look forward to being able to promote our scallops with the MSC ecolabel globally and in Japan.”

The MSC’s Deputy Chief Executive, Chris Ninnes, welcomed the announcement: “I am delighted to see the Hokkaido Gyoren’s Japanese scallop fisheries moving forward into full assessment. If successful, MSC certification will allow scallops from this fishery to bear the internationally recognised MSC ecolabel that enables consumers to recognise and reward sustainable fisheries management. We wish the scallop fishery well during the assessment.”

Kozo Ishii, Programme Director of MSC Japan says: “Japan is one of the largest markets for seafood and Japanese consumers play an important role with regards to maintaining sustainability of our seafood resources. Over the last year we have seen increasing interest in MSC certification by Japanese fisheries and by retailers who sell MSC certified products and increasingly discerning consumer looking not only for quality but also sustainability assurance. Hokkaido scallops are one of the most popular seafood products in Japan, so it is very exciting to have them in MSC assessment.”

the Fish Site Editor

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