The world’s marine resources are being depleted and according to a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the stock of only 7% of marine resources of the world was stable, while the stock of 60% had been fully exploited and the stock of 33% had been overexploited. We believe that the status of marine resources is extremely important in terms of medium- to long-term business risks and opportunities for the Nissui Group, which is engaged in businesses that utilize the bounty of the sea.
For this reason, we conduct a survey on the status of marine resources procured by the Nissui Group as a whole, for the purpose of getting a grasp of the resource status of its procured fish and identifying the issues to be addressed. In addition, we promote initiatives aimed at the sustainable use of marine resources on a Group-wide scale.
Nissui conducted a survey of resources at its Group companies (28 domestic and 16 overseas companies) based on the dealings and results of wild-caught fish for 2016. The total volume of wild-caught fish procured by the Nissui Group is approximately 1.5 million tons (live weight equivalent), which is equivalent to 1.6% of the total wild catch of the world.
Nissui analyzed the resource status of its procured natural marine resources using the following 4 steps based on fish species, catch regions, habitats, and sizes of catch (live weight equivalent).
As a result of the re-investigation in Step 4, it became evident that 8.8% of the fish species had "no information as to whether fisheries management existed," mainly with regard to compound feeds. Nissui Group will make efforts to cooperate with compound feed manufacturers and enhance the traceability of such fish species. With regard to the other fish species classified as "no information," Nissui Group will continue to carefully observe their resource status and the countermeasures taken by fishing countries against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, and take such action as making recommendations through SeaBOS (Seafood Business for Ocean Stewardship) to each country to conduct.
Fish species classified as “not healthy,” as a result of Steps 1 through 3 include fish species categorized as “Critically Endangered (CR)” and “Endangered (EN)” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), WWF, and the Ministry of the Environment, Japan.
With regard to these fish species, Nissui will carefully observe the resources status of each species and take the following Policy.
(Weight : ton)
|Handling Area||Red List evaluation||Species
|Japan||CR||Southern Bluefin Tuna （Thunnus maccoyii)||114||Not healthy||Exist Resource Recovery Plan|
|EN||Sea Cucumber （Apostichopus japonicus）||20||Not healthy||Exist Resource Control Plan|
|Denmark||CR||EEL （Anguilla anguilla）||0.4||Not healthy||ESF related procurement|
|EN||HALIBUTWHITE （Hippoglossus hippoglossus）||9||Not healthy||To be reconsidered|
|EN||SKATE （Leucoraja ocellata）||115||Not healthy||US east coast fisheries regulation applied|
(i) Southern Bluefin Tuna
The Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT) has set the total allowable catch (TAC) and allocations for member countries, based on scientific research. With regard to imports, Nissui complies with the instructions of the Fisheries Agency and will continue to handle Southern Bluefin Tuna.
(ii) Sea Cucumber
Sea cucumbers are under the resources management of each prefecture and given that management measures such as the setting of non-fishing days, restrictions on size, release of seeds and the building of fishing grounds are being taken, Nissui will continue to handle sea cucumbers at current levels. However, should concerns arise for the depletion of resources, Nissui will gradually reduce or suspend their handling.
Nissui will not handle critically endangered and endangered fish species. However, if requested by customers, Nissui will continue to handle those species by confirming their conservation and management status.
The Nissui Group does not handle resources that clearly have not been managed, resources whose status remains unclear, or resources suspected of being caught through IUU fishing or caught using forced labor. By continuing surveys on marine resources periodically, conditions surrounding marine resources, which are ever-changing, can be monitored to secure the sustainability of those resources. Further, to meet future market demand, we will work to manage resources in a sustainable manner.
Currently, the second survey, which looks at the period from January to December 2019, is underway, with research and analysis of the conditions surrounding the resources being conducted.
Nissui upholds management based on CSR in its mid-term business plan “MVIP + (Plus) 2020” and has commenced studies on the sustainable use and procurement of marine resource, which are at the core of its business.
By participating in the “Pacific Bluefin Tuna Conservation Pledge” by WWF Japan, Nissui makes its intention clear to promote further global agreement in regard to the management of Pacific Bluefin Tuna resources together with other Japanese companies supporting this cause.
We the undersigned, pledge to support the conservation and sustainable use of Pacific Bluefin tuna stock across the Pacific Ocean.
As responsible companies based in Japan, we promote to sustain livelihoods and to minimize environmental impacts when providing highly qualified seafood to the market. Then, we are making effort not to treat any seafood products from IUU (illegal, unreported and unregulated) sources by establishing the traceability.
The Pacific Bluefin tuna stock remains near the historic low and the sustainability of the stock in the future is a concern. However, not only does Pacific bluefin tuna stock contribute to employment and economy in Pacific coastal countries including Japan, it plays a key role as one of the top predators in the Pacific Ocean marine ecosystem.
To build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, we hope that both an emergency rule and a long-term recovery plan of the Pacific Bluefin tuna stock based on the best available science and precautionary approach will be adopted. We pledge to support these measures so that the Pacific Bluefin tuna stock across the Pacific Ocean will be steadily recovering.
Please find details at WWF Japan HP.
Australian Longline Pty Ltd. (Australia), which is one of the Nissui Group companies outside of Japan, is primarily engaged in Toothfish fishing in the Antarctic Ocean (subject to Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification).
In January 2021, Antarctic Discovery—a vessel owned by Australian Longline—became the world's first to acquire the Responsible Fishing Vessel Standard (RFVS) certification. RFVS is a fishing vessel-based certification program and is operated on a global scale by non-profit organization Global Seafood Assurances (GSA). Audits are conducted with respect to the safety and well-being of employees working on board the vessel from the viewpoint of human rights, in addition to fishing vessel management and catch traceability. Having acquired RFVS certification, Australian Longline has demonstrated to the general public that it abides by high standards in terms of welfare and safety for crew members on board its vessel and is not involved in illegal practices such as slave labor and poor living conditions. Australian longline acquired the RFVS certification for their new vessel Antarctic Aurora as well, in February 2021.
Furthermore, Flatfish Ltd. (UK), which is also one of the Nissui Group companies outside of Japan, contributed to RFVS as a member of the Technical Working Group of RFVS by such means as serving as a peer reviewer of RFVS in 2019 and 2020. Flatfish, which had been in favor of this certification scheme not only since the beginning at the time of its launch in 2006 but also upon its subsequent resumption in 2016, provided ongoing support toward its realization.
In fishery operations, incidental capture of seabirds in place of fish intended to be captured has become an issue. Nissui Group companies engaged in fishery operations are striving to prevent the bycatch of seabirds, having introduced tori lines (Note 1) and moon pools (Note 2).
(Note 1) Tori line: A device that prevents birds from approaching the bait by towing a rope to which streamers and tapes are attached from the tip of a long pole fixed at the stern of the fishing boat; also called tori pole (Source: World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) website).
(Note 2) Moon pool: A round well in a vessel's hull through which a longline is hauled in a longline fishing boat, which lowers the risk of wild birds being entangled than when the task is performed on the deck. It also helps ensure the safety of crew members.
Moon pool in vessel of Australian Longline Pty Ltd.
Gorton’s has been forming partnership with New England Aquarium (NEAq), Boston MA. USA, to preserve marine environment and secure sustainable marine resources. The partnership started in 2008 when Gorton’s asked evaluation of its seafood products from scientific and sustainable points of view and marked its 12th year in December 2020.
Along with Monterey Aquarium, NEAq has global knowledge of marine resource research and provides scientific and meaningful advice and support including movement of fishery, aquaculture, fish feed and breeding in the conduct of making efforts to promote sustainable fishery.
In addition, Gorton’s itself developed Sustainability Action Plan, and has been promoting the plan by exchanging opinion with NEAq and implementing progress management by setting KPI.
Based on the strong trust with NEAq until now, Gorton’s, member of the Nissui Group, will make efforts toward sustainable usage of resources and preservation of the environment in a positive manner.
In order to enhance the sustainable use of marine resources, innovations will also need to be made to the methods of fishing. The problems of fishing methods that destroy the marine environment and bycatch, i.e. the incidental capture of non-target species have been raising concern, and the development of fishing methods that cause the minimum amount of damage to living organisms and the environment has become imperative, for the sake of preventing the marine ecosystem from deteriorating.
The Sealord Group, Ltd. (New Zealand), the Nissui Group company, in partnership with major domestic fisheries companies, Aotearoa Fisheries, Ltd. and Sanford, Ltd. and the research institute, Plant & Food Research, Ltd. which studies sustainable agriculture and fisheries business, has successfully developed the PSH (Precision Seafood Harvesting) fishing method, which reduces bycatch and allows the targeted fish to be caught alive.
The PSH method uses fishing equipment made of flexible PVC which inflates into a tube shape once seawater flows in, allowing fish to be landed live and still swimming, while undersized or smaller species escape through specifically sized holes along the length of the fishing equipment.
Scientific tests have shown that snapper harvested with the PSH system have a 100% chance of survival if they are fished from a depth of 0 to 20 meters. While the survival rates tend to decline with increasing depth, tests have proven that fish caught with the PSH system have better survival rates than those caught using other conventional fishing methods.
Hence, it is believed that the PSH system will be an effective method for studying deep sea organisms and catching fish in the deep depths of the ocean.
The four companies, mentioned above, through repeated trial and error including investigative research over the approximately ten years from the project’s launch in 2005, were finally able to commercialize (practical application) the PSH fishing method in 2016. The Sealord Group, Ltd. is currently expanding the use of the PSH fishing method and making efforts to contribute to the spread of sustainable fishery.