Seiyu GK, a Japanese subsidiary of Walmart, has decided to participate in Japan’s first aquaculture improvement project, the “Miyagi Onagawa Coho Salmon AIP”.
The project, a collaborative effort by Marukin Co., Ltd., Fisherman Japan, and Ocean Outcomes launched this year, works to improve the sustainability of Coho salmon farms in the thriving seafood region of Onagawa, Japan. Seiyu, who joins the project as a formal participant, will contribute financial resources towards the project objectives and sell AIP Coho salmon product in Tokyo area stores.
An Aquaculture Improvement Project (AIP) is a collaborative effort, which brings together multiple stakeholders including producers, distributors, and NGOs for the purpose of improving the sustainability of a farm’s aquaculture practices. With advice and technical support from Ocean Outcomes and Fisherman Japan, Marukin will work to address issues identified during a third-party assessment. This includes monitoring the farms impact on the surrounding ecosystems and evaluating the sustainability of the feed use in the farming process. Seiyu will provide funding for these activities and will publicly support the project by selling Miyagi Onagawa Coho Salmon AIP products.
As harvest volume of internationally recognized species such as Pacific Bluefin Tuna and others more familiar to Japanese consumers—ranging from Saury, Mackerel, Sardine, and Walleye Pollock—remains low in Japan, concerns continue to mount regarding stock levels and fishing practices. With a growing interest and demand for sustainable seafood as the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games approach—the Olympic committee has required all seafood sourced for the Games to be sustainable—improvement projects such as this are garnering support in the hopes of bringing Japanese fisheries and farms in line with international best practices.
Comments from the project stakeholders:
Kumie Wama (Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Seiyu GK)
“Our parent company Walmart has been proactively developing a wide range of activities around the world in order to enhance human- and earth-friendly environment with “sustainable fisheries” as one of its focused fields. Seiyu is committed to projects such as this. Working together with our partner companies, NGOs, and fishermen, we will help promote improvement by selling AIP product and funding AIP work.”
Wakao Hanaoka (CEO, Seafood Legacy Co., Ltd.)
“Seiyu’s approach is an ideal market initiative as it not only provides financial support to the producer for their on-site operation, but it also creates opportunities for consumers to join this initiative by purchasing AIP products. This is the first step to building a Tokyo Olympic Legacy that aims to achieve sustainable development goals (SDGs). We hope this will further galvanize efforts to pursue the sustainability both in Japan and overseas.”
Shingo Suzuki (Managing Director, Marukin Co., Ltd. / Director, Fisherman Japan)
“We have been farming Coho Salmon for more than 30 years. In order to pass this industry to the next generation, it is essential for producers themselves to take the initiative in promoting responsible fisheries that consider the natural environment. Further, cooperation from all stakeholders within our supply chain will deliver sustainable products all the way down to consumers. Therefore, we sincerely appreciate support from Seiyu as it will allow us to concentrate on addressing environmental challenges at our production sites. We hope to further promote our products and fisheries from Miyagi Prefecture, the origin of Coho salmon aquaculture, not only domestically but also internationally.”
Shunji Murakami (Japan Program Director, Ocean Outcomes)
“With aquaculture businesses growing remarkably around the world, we think this project can demonstrate the needs and challenges for improvements towards sustainability of Coho salmon aquacultures in Japan. In addition, this collaborative opportunity with such a market initiative from Seiyu and other participants like Seafood Legacy will empower the improvement projects strongly but also to create appropriate incentives for local farmers to continuously improve their sustainability and traceability, which will ultimately contribute to the revitalization of Onagawa town that endured enormous damage in the devastating Great East Japan Earthquake.”