Report of Tokyo Sustainable Seafood Symposium 2016
The journey of Seafood Legacy began in July 2015 to make Japan a stronger player in seafood sustainability. Just over a year ago today, we hosted our very first Tokyo Sustainable Seafood Symposium explaining, “What is sustainable seafood?” and “Why is it important?” to the crowd. Since then, we are seeing significant changes and improvements in the Japanese seafood market. At the second annual Tokyo Sustainable Seafood Symposium on November 11th 2016, we addressed important issues surrounding global sustainable seafood market such as IUU fishing, precompetitive collaboration, and Olympic food procurement policy to over 500 participants. We drew a diverse audience, with participants from food manufacturers, seafood industry, retailers, wholesalers, trading companies, software development and system integration companies.
As Tokyo 2020 approaches, the Japanese seafood industry is willing to change and taking this opportunity to revitalize the declining seafood industry and become a better player in global seafood sustainability.
The Market Initiatives
The improvements and initiatives of Japan’s leading retailers were the highlight of the symposium.
Seiyu Group Company (owned by Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.)
Announced its support of Japan’s first FIP. The “Tokyo Bay Japanese Sea Perch FIP” was launched as a collaboration between Ocean Outcomes (O2) and Kaiko Bussan. Seiyu discussed its support for this project, including continued product sales in stores and project grant contribution.
AEON CO., LTD
Introduced the “Fish Baton” project, featuring an MSC/ASC certified seafood designated section in 25 AEON stores in Japan. Their goal is to increase that to 100 stores by 2020. In October, AEON began promoting the fourth MSC certified fishery in Japan by bringing its pole and line Skipjack to 1000 stores.
We are proud of Seiyu and AEON’s market leaderships and are excited to see further improvement in the market. As major retailers initiate sustainable seafood projects, it is highly likely that we will see this movement grow.
“Sustainable City: Tokyo” for 2020?
This year, we were honored to feature Yuriko Koike, the governor of Tokyo, as our symposium’s keynote speaker. In her speech, she focused on Tokyo’s abundant ocean resources and shared her vision for 2020. Tokyo aims to promote “Sustainable City: Tokyo” to the world through the Olympic games. Although Governor Koike noted, “We would like to set numerical goals for our sustainable standard,” existing Japanese seafood eco labels are struggling to meet the world standard. We believe that business-NGO partnerships will be critical in raising Japanese seafood sustainability levels to the global standard. These partnerships will provide businesses with the expertise required to use independent science scoring systems for developing business plans that support better resource management to realize the vision of creating “Sustainable City: Tokyo.”
The London Olympics left great encouragement and legacy for the global sustainable seafood market. Toby Middleton, Program Director of North East Atlantic at MSC, and Ruth Westcott, Sustainable Fish City Campaign Coordinator at Sustain, shared their experience and success stories from London 2012. It was eye-opening for all of us to learn about the lasting effects of the Olympic games on the growth of the sustainable seafood market. Thank you Toby and Ruth for sharing the success stories.
With the help of our many guest speakers, we were able to introduce a variety of topics throughout the day. The presentations from global market leaders were truly inspiring and very motivational for the Japanese seafood market.
A-1 [Sustainable procurement and profitability: EU market examples]
B-1 [Fishery improvement and management for successful business:
FIP in Japan]
A-2 [tractability in seafood supply chain: combating IUU fishing and slavery]
B-2 [Making sustainable seafood more approachable for customers:
how to sell and promote]
A-3 [Precompetitive collaboration in seafood industry: global examples]
B-3 [Research and technology to support sustainable seafood market:
Creating a new market]
Unlike other symposiums and conferences in Japan, we took longer breaks between the sessions to encourage communication between attendees. NGO displays in the hallways invited discussion on key topics throughout the symposium. The events concluded with a cheerful and warm reception. After a long day, cheering on “Kanpai” and cold drinks were very refreshing! Thank you AEON for providing us MSC/ASC certified seafood tapas.
Seafood Legacy is grateful to have overseas support from the guest speakers who traveled long distances to attend the symposium. We would also like to express our thanks to those organizations and individuals who have supported us along the way. Without them, this symposium would not be possible.
Seafood Legacy believes that we can solve our global fishery problems and create thriving oceans. We believe that Japan—with its historical connection to the ocean—will be a key player in making it possible. We will continue supporting partnerships between businesses and NGOs to find solutions best suited to the Japanese business and culture while learning from global examples. Together, we will secure productive and enduring seas.
Thank you very much!