First Red Sea Bream Aquaculture Improvement Project (AIP) in Japan Aiming for ASC Certification in 2021

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Seafood Legacy Co., Ltd., Kumamoto Seawater Culture Fisheries Cooperative and Urata Suisan Co., Ltd. have launched Japan’s first red sea bream (madai​) Aquaculture Improvement Project (AIP) on June 30, 2020. The AIP will encompass two red sea bream​​farms owned and operated by Urata Suisan in Amakusa area of Kumamoto Prefecture.

Information source: Seafood Legacy Co. / press release

With favorable coastal geography and oceanic conditions, Kumamoto prefecture has developed a robust aquaculture industry centered around Amakusa Ueshima, Shimoshima and Ashikita regions from 1965. Red sea bream aquaculture is one of its most important aquaculture industries — Kumamoto boasts the second-highest production volume of farmed red sea bream in Japan — with roughly 10,000 tons produced annually which accounts for more than half of the prefecture’s farmed fish production volume. Madai ​ ​has traditionally been considered a symbolic food item in Japan to mark celebrations for many centuries.

Furthermore, the prefectural government promotes an aquaculture best practices certification process for its aquaculture producers to ensure locally produced farmed fish meet high quality and safety standards. This certification includes practices such as: use of domestically sourced smolt, record keeping of farm operations, and setting strict guidelines for periodic inspections of chemical products used by farms.

In addition to implementing these practices, Kumamoto Seawater Culture Fisheries Cooperative Association and Urata Suisan have decided to take steps to turn to a more sustainable and responsible production of their farmed red sea bream. By launching AIP, they set their sights on obtaining ASC certification next year in order to further differentiate their products in the domestic and international markets.

Kumamoto Seawater Culture Fisheries Cooperative Association conducted an ASC pre-assessment with Urata Suisan’s red sea bream farms in 2019 and Seafood Legacy developed an AIP workplan based on the pre-assessment results, leading to the launch of this collaborative effort to improve Urata Suisan’s red sea bream aquaculture to reach ASC certification by 2021. Improvements to be implemented through the AIP include monitoring of environmental impacts of net cages to the surrounding ecosystem and habitats, ensuring sustainability of fish feed and smolt, management of diseases and parasites, and development of social responsibility policies and guidelines.

Seafood Legacy Co., Ltd. is a social venture based in Tokyo which provides sustainable seafood consulting and platforming services to Japanese fishery, seafood businesses and government. Seafood is a symbol of the connections between marine ecosystems, marine economics, and regional communities, and our purpose is to ensure that it remains abundant for future generations. Seafood Legacy also strategically networks seafood businesses and NGOs to foster a pre-competitive platform to solve mutual issues that various stakeholders face in Japan and the world.

See more about details regarding Kumamoto Red Sea Bream AIP here: https://seafoodlegacy.com/english/cases/kumamoto-red-sea-bream-aip/

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