A Tokyo-based seafood wholesaler has become the first business in Japan to be certified by a London-based conservation group as a supplier of seafood produced by sustainable fishing, officials of the group said Monday.
Based in Tokyo’s Tsukiji district, where the famed fish market is located, Kamewa Shoten will start selling over the Internet next month fillets of Alaskan salmon with a special label issued by the Marine Stewardship Council, officials at the council said.
The council is an independent nonprofit organization that promotes well-managed, sustainable fisheries through a certification program for fisheries or companies.
Kamewa Shoten has passed the experts’ assessments of its plant, storage and other facilities and became the first company in Japan to obtain the group’s Chain of Custody certification, the officials said.
A Chain of Custody certification guarantees that a supplier processes and markets seafood produced by certified fisheries separately from noncertified products at every stage of production and distribution, and allows it to use the council’s logo, they said.
A fishery group in Maizuru, Kyoto Prefecture, is expected to receive certification by the end of this year, the officials said.
The labels have been used for more than 300 products taken from nearly 20 species as of January, chiefly by U.S., European and Australian suppliers, conservation experts say.
“Moves to get MSC certification are spreading worldwide, but Japanese businesses have lagged behind,” said Arata Izawa, a World Wide Fund for Nature expert in charge of marine resources.
“It is a big step forward that consumers in Japan, the major consumer nation of fisheries products, have been enabled to choose conservation- or eco-conscious products at a glance,” Izawa said. “We expect that MSC-labeled products and their suppliers will increase from now on.”
Kamewa Shoten President Kazuhiko Wada said, “I want consumers to deepen their understanding of the importance of fisheries that take care of stock management.”
Besides fillets, the company is considering marketing snack products made from the certified salmon, he said.
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