Hokkaido scallop fishery gains MSC-certification

Japanese scallop fishery, the Hokkaido Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Association, has today received certification from the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

Started in the late 1800s, the Hokkaido scallop fishery has an annual harvest of 400,000 metric tonnes, but last year reached 410,000 metric tonnes, making it the world's largest scallop harvest.

The scallop (Patinopecten yessoensis) is supplied to domestic markets as well as to Southeast Asia, Europe and the US, where demand for MSC-labelled seafood is high.

Hokkaido scallops are now eligible to bear the blue MSC ecolabel which assures seafood buyers that they are traceable to an MSC-certified fishery which is both sustainable and well managed.

Takehiro Sakuraba, chairman of the Hokkaido Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Association, said "I'm proud of Hokkaido’s scallop fishery as an example of best practice in catch-and-grow fisheries. Our scallops have become internationally known as one-third of the whole catch in Hokkaido is exported.

"This was the context for our ambition of achieving the internationally recognised MSC-accreditation for sustainable fishing, and we are delighted that we have been successful."

Rupert Howes, MSC chief executive said Hokkaido's certification will improve its reputation both in Japan and overseas.

"This iconic fishery has provided a wonderful and renewable source of food for over two centuries and has also made an important contribution to the local economy and security of the livelihoods of both fishers and others involved in related industries. I have no doubt that this tremendous achievement will generate a lot of interest from both the domestic and international markets that are increasingly concerned about the sustainability and provenance of their seafood choices.

"I wish the Hokkaido scallop fishery every success in meeting their existing and new customers’ demands for certified and sustainable seafood," he said.


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