Japanese seafood industry makes first step towards responsible procurement of salmon from Russia
The workshop counted on the participation of representatives from Russian, Japanese, German and Canadian seafood companies and the NGO sector, including the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Japan, TRAFFIC Japan, Plavnik, a Russian salmon company, Gottfried-Friedrichs, a German seafood business and Albion, a fish trader from Canada.
Japan is the largest buyer of Russian sockeye salmon, which is predominantly caught in the seas of the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Russian Far East. In 2010, Japan imported 97% of Russian chum salmon and half (49%) of Russian sockeye salmon supply. As such, WWF believes that Japanese companies can, and should play a key role in driving sustainable management and procurement of wild salmon fisheries in Russia and across the Pacific Rim.
The workshop aimed to mobilize Japanese buyers of Russian salmon to promote changes towards sustainable fishing practices in the Russian salmon fishery. Despite their strong impact on salmon fisheries in the North Pacific, most Japanese seafood companies and consumers are unaware of the serious risks associated with Kamchatka salmon fishing: strong market demand which is encouraging pirate fishing (IUU fishing), unsustainable fishing practices and discards (many non-priority fish species and other marine animals accidentally caught in the nets are thrown overboard) and opaque trade of salmon products.
This workshop was a part of the WWF global strategy to reduce harmful overfishing, bycatch, habitat destruction and illegal fishing practices to ensure good ocean’s management, promote sustainable seafood markets and introduce sound financial mechanisms that will take us from exploitation to restoration of fish resources.
Aiko Yamauchi, WWF Japan: “This is the first workshop about the problems of the Russian salmon fisheries and what can be done to obtain healthy salmon fishery held in Japan. We hope that this first workshop will serve as trigger for more Japanese seafood companies to take up a pro-active role in the protection of Russian salmon stocks.”
Brian Caouette, Wild Salmon Center: “Wild salmon is a globally traded commodity. Therefore conservation of wild salmon depends on effective engagement from global seafood industry. We are excited to see the Japanese seafood industry getting involved.”
Vladimir Smirnov, Sakhalin Salmon Fishery: “Many people in Russia think all domestic problems should be kept within national borders. However, both Russia and Japan depend on the same resource – Pacific salmon. I believe that problems of this fishery can only be solved together.”
Wada Kazuhiko, “Kamewashoten” Japanese seafood trader: “Earlier we ate only Japanese fish, but now we import seafood from all over the world. At such a globalized market, the Japanese companies have to verify their fish sources and make sure they buy legal and sustainable fish. Promotion of MSC certification can be one of the tools for verification.”