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Kyoto Snow Crab, Flathead Flounder Fishery Seeks Re-Certification

Crustaceans Sustainability Economics +4 more

JAPAN - The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has welcomed the decision by the Kyoto Danish Seine Fishery Federation (KDSFF) to seek recertification to the MSC standard for well-managed and sustainable fisheries. The KDSFF snow crab and flathead flounder fishery was certified to the MSCs environmental standard on 19 September 2008. It will now undergo an in-depth re-assessment before the current five-year certificate expires.

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The fishery was the first to achieve MSC certification, not only in Japan, but also Asia. This re-assessment to be conducted by independent certification body Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) will re-examine the sustainability of the target fish stock, the environmental impact of its fishing operations and the management and governance systems that are in place, to ensure they continue to meet the MSC requirements for certification.

The KDSFF uses a single Danish seine net. This gear type is known to have a lower impact on seabed habitats and ecosystems than some alternative gear types used in this type of fishery. Its 12 vessels operate in the Kyoto Offshore Fishing Area that begins about 50 km out from the Kyoto Prefecture coast.

The KDSFF has been working closely with the Fisheries Technology Department; Kyoto Prefectural Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Technology Center, to further improve the gear including a crab-exclusion system to prevent catching snow-crabs out of season. Federation members have also opted for further voluntary controls in addition to the legal restrictions to help ensure the continuing recovery of the snow crab stocks.

The association gained a new impetus for recovery because one condition of MSC certification was that, by September 2009, a date should be specified for complete snow crab recovery. The Federation proposed a ten year recovery plan, and is harvesting in accordance with the plan.

Chairman of the KDSFF Tetsuya Kawaguchi says: KDSFFs efforts to achieve global best practice in sustainable fishery management did not cease with MSC certification in 2008. Weve continued to focus our efforts on effective resource management and sustainable fishing, with voluntary controls such as restrictions on fishing soft-shell crab. Such initiatives are the first to be implemented in Japan. We believe that our efforts lead Japans resource management in the Danish seine fishery and we hope our achievement will be recognized in re-assessment.

Mr Takashi Hamanaka of Secretariat of the KDSFF also says: I hope that the MSC certification will raise further recognition of the efforts of Kyotos Danish seine fishery to maintain a sustainable resource and that the wider recognition will enhance the cooperation between fisheries and consumers in resource management.

MSC Japans Programme Director Kozo Ishii says: We are really pleased that the KDSFF has decided to enter re-assessment to maintain their certification. It is very significant that the KDSFF, the first fishery in Asia to have secured MSC certification, is seeking re-certification as it will lead the spread of certified sustainable fishing in the region. We hope that KDSFFs continuous efforts on stock management will result in a successful second MSC certification and let more people recognize the importance of their efforts.