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Kyoto Danish Seine Fishing Federation awarded Japan’s first MSC certificate

The Kyoto Danish Seine Fishing Federation (KDSFF) snow crab and flathead flounder fishery has been certified under the Marine Stewardship Council standard as a sustainable and well-managed fishery. Although MSC eco-labelled products are proving popular in Japan, this is the first Japanese fishery to be certified.

What the Kyoto Danish Seine Fishing Federation says

KDSFF Chairman, Mr. Tetsuya Kawaguchi said: “KDSFF fishermen have been taking measures including setting of prohibited fishing areas and seasonal closures to pass on the bountiful Kyoto offshore sea to our descendents.  With our effort, the fish stocks are recovering.  I am very pleased because our effort is verified by the MSC certification, and would like to give my gratitude to all people who gave support for this certification.  The certification is just a milestone.  Our objective is to pass on bountiful seas to the future generations with implementation of stock control and fishing ground management of Kyoto offshore sustainably.  As the MSC certified fishery, we will continue to improve the Danish Seine fishery with our love of the Sea of Kyoto.”

The KDSFF was established in 1944 as a not for profit organisation aimed at ensuring efficient fishery operations and effective communication throughout the fishery. It now has 15 member vessels. Commercial fishing in the region dates back much further - to the 1340s when fishers using hand-operated versions of the modern Danish seine nets started fishing for coastal flatfish.

The certifier

Independent certifier TQCSI determined that the fisheries had met the criteria to be certified following an extensive assessment by an expert team including Japanese and international fisheries scientists. This was followed by a peer and stakeholder review process.

The assessment was partially sponsored by international conservation organisation, WWF. “WWF-US congratulates KDSFF on becoming certified, and looks forward to working with the fishery to help it penetrate new markets and harvest the benefits of certification,” said Meredith Lopuch, deputy director of WWF-US's Sustainable Seafood Initiative.  “KDSFF is not only receiving global recognition for their achievement, but through their dedication to sustainable fishing, its members are also in a good position to sustain their fishing lifestyle well into the future.”

What the MSC says

Kozo Ishii, MSC’s Programme Director in Japan said: “The certification is finally issued to KDSFF after the long assessment period.  Persons involved in this certification had tried very hard for this certification.  As a result, the KDSFF became the first Japanese fishery to be certified, and also became the first fishery in Asia to receive an MSC certificate. This is very important step for the MSC, and I am sure the certification leads to further expansion of the MSC in Japan.  Traceability certification is already in place for this species and I am sure that MSC eco-labelled domestic –catch fishes will soon be available to Japanese consumers who are increasingly looking for the blue MSC eco-label”

Japanese supermarket, Aeon – which launched its first MSC product in 2006 – already plans to offer MSC eco-labelled flathead flounder to its customers. Mr. Yasuyuki Yamamoto of AEON TOPVALU Co., Ltd. Said: “Aeon is actively promoting action to provide sustainable seafood mainly through our private brand ‘TOPVALU Green Eye’ products together with our customers.  Following the first MSC certification of a Japanese fishery with the effort of stakeholders, we will make further effort to provide secured and safe seafood sustainably to our customers.”

Rupert Howes, Chief Executive of the MSC said: “This certification is a historic milestone – not only the first Japanese fishery to achieve MSC certification but also the first in Asia. I am personally delighted to be able to congratulate the KDSFF flat head flounder and snow crab fisheries on their achievement. We very much hope the leadership position taken by KDSFF will inspire other Japanese fisheries to move forward into the MSC assessment process over the coming months. As demand, both domestically within Japan, and in important export markets, for credible, internationally recognized third party certification and labeling continues to grow, MSC certification provides a growing range of market and business opportunities that we hope the KDSFF fisheries will be well placed to exploit.”

About the Kyoto Danish Seine Fishery Federation

Kyoto Danish Seine Fishery Federation: The secretariat of KDSFF is located in Maizuru-city, Kyoto Prefecture.  The KDSFF is comprised of 15 members and 15 licensed vessels (4-6 crews per vessel).  Main catch species are flounders, snow crab, sand fish and Japanese Argentine.  Average annual catch in the past three years is 811MT.

Further information

For any media inquiries please contact [email protected].

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