If you want to witness a display of marine abundance and diversity unrivaled nearly anywhere on planet earth head straight to the heart of Tokyo, grab your rubber boots and take a stroll through the cavernous Toyosu fish market.
Toyosu market stands at the center of a global seafood trade that reaches nearly every corner of the ocean, every fishing ground, and handles almost every conceivable seafood product, from wild Kamchatka sockeye salmon to giant tuna from the Mediterranean to Maine lobster — much of this seafood passes through Chinese supply chains between point of production and eventual sale in Japan.
Few countries have a bigger influence on global seafood markets, international fishery issues, and overall ocean health than those in Northeast Asia. Four of the top eight seafood consuming countries are in Northeast Asia — China, Japan, South Korea and Russia. However, many domestic fisheries in these countries are in decline, a legacy of overfishing, degraded ecosystems, and negative socio-economic factors. A significant number of these fisheries are collapsed or over-fished according to the United Nations Fisheries and Agriculture Organization (UNFAO).
China, Japan, South Korea and Russia are some of the largest seafood consuming countries. © California Environmental Associates
For the average Northeast Asian consumer, this has meant higher prices at the market and increasing difficulties in enjoying traditional food items. In Japan, as one example, “Unagi” (eel) saw a peak commercial catch of 3,387 metric tons in 1961 but that catch was reduced to a measly 71 tons in 2018. Meanwhile, the price of Unagi quadrupled in the last decade alone. For coastal communities and fishery cooperatives across Japan that have borne the brunt of the fishery crisis, the situation is even more severe; a whopping 800,000 Japanese jobs have been lost since the fishing industry’s peak in the 1960s.
Our work in Northeast Asia is focused around building local capacity for sustainability and partnering with those organizations to develop and implement sustainable seafood and fisheries initiatives.
This includes buyer engagement programs, exploring solutions towards more sustainable practices with government, industry, and fishery leaders, and developing and implementing fishery and aquaculture improvement projects.
We implement this work through close partnerships with local organizations in the region, such as Seafood Legacy and UMITO Partners in Japan and with a local NGO named Qingdao Marine Conservation Society (QMCS) and the consulting firm Tao Ran in China — both these entities were established with O2 support.
Our local capacity development and partnership approach in the Northeast Asian countries where we work provides a flexible and effective avenue to implement our joint projects and access domestic funding, while maintaining a strong, accountable, and international team approach to our sustainable fisheries and seafood work in the region.
This ensures our initiatives are effective and our outcomes durable. Working with partners and team members across Northeast Asia, we collaboratively fund, design, test and implement a variety of sustainable seafood and fisheries projects throughout the region. These include, fishery and aquaculture improvement projects to improve management policies and revitalize fishing communities and engaging industry and other supply chain actors towards developing and implementing sustainable practices.
Northeast Asian Fishery Fishery Improvement Projects:
- East China Sea and Yellow Sea Squid FIP
- Fujian Zhangzhou Red Swimming Crab FIP
- Hiroshima Pacific Oyster FIP
- Indian Ocean Albacore Tuna Longline FIP
- Miyagi Onagawa Coho Salmon AIP
- Nachi Katsuura Albacore Longline FIP
- South Pacific Albacore and Western and Central Pacific Yellowfin Tuna Longline FIP
- Tokyo Bay Sea Perch FIP
- Tomamae Giant Pacific Octopus FIP
- Western Kamchatka Salmon FIP
Stories from the Field: Northeast Asia
- South Korea’s Largest Seafood Industry Players Come Together to Support Sustainable Tuna
- Leading Taiwanese Tuna Company Pursues Sustainability Status
- Ocean Outcomes Expanding Portfolio of Tuna Work Across Northeast Asia
- Songlin Wang Awarded Pew Fellowship to Support the Conservation of China’s Largest Eelgrass Habitat
- Training Tuna Vessel Owners on Best Practices in Fiji and Taiwan
- Now Addressing Social Needs in Fishery Improvement
- NFI Red Crab Council Remains Committed to Improving Chinese Crab Fishery
- First Oyster Fishery Improvement Project Launches in Japan
- New Tuna FIP to Drive Improvements on Hundreds of Chinese and Chinese Taipei Longline Vessels
- New FIP to Improve Giant Octopus Fishery in Northern Japan
- Improvement Efforts Lead to More Sustainable Fishing Practices in Japanese Sea Perch and Tuna Fisheries
- Ocean Outcomes Japan Merges With Seafood Legacy to Form Leading Japanese Sustainable Seafood and Fisheries Partnership
- Bumble Bee Foods and FCF Partner with Ocean Outcomes to Improve Longline Tuna Fisheries
- Global Squid Sustainability Efforts Take Leap Forward
- Leading Seafood Industry Groups Launch First Sustainable Crab Project in China
- World’s Second Largest Oyster Producer Working Towards More Sustainable Practices
- Agreement Clears Way for Launch of China’s First Comprehensive Marine FIP
- Miyagi Onagawa Coho Salmon AIP Product Hits Japanese Supermarkets
- Japan Looks to Improve Key Tuna Fisheries as Part of Blossoming Sustainable Seafood Movement
- Seiyu to Support Japan's First Aquaculture Improvement Project
- O2’s Korea Program Garnering Headlines in Korea
- Traditional Japanese Eel Festival Draws to a Close
- New Study Reveals High Risk of Illegal Seafood Imports Entering Japanese Market
- Building Traceability into Japanese Fisheries
- O2 and CAPPMA Commit to a More Sustainable Future for Chinese Seafood Industry on World Oceans Day
- Tokyo Bay Sea Perch FIP Product Hits Japanese Supermarkets
- Expanding Capacity and Expertise in Policy, IUU, and China
- First-Ever Fishery Improvement Project Launched in Japan
- Hatchery Best Practices Finding Traction in Russia
- Opportunities for Sustainable Seafood in China
- Fishery Improvement Efforts Lead to New Management Strategies in Kamchatka
- Russian Fisheries Make Strides on Road to Sustainability
- Opportunities for Sustainable Fisheries in Japan
- Iki Island Fishermen Take Inspired Action To Preserve Precious Bluefin Tuna
- West Kamchatka Salmon Fisheries Continue on Path to Sustainability
- Growing Potential for Sustainable Fishery Production in the Far East