Japan Hokkaido Japanese sardine - purse seine

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Overview

The distribution of Japanese sardine ranges across the surrounding waters of Japan, but the stock is divided into Pacific stock and the Tsushima warm-current stock for stock assessment. These stocks were defined based on the main foraging and migration areas for the target fish. 

The Pacific stock ranges along the Pacific Ocean side of Japan and its management is delineated into eight blocks for purse seiners. The client fishery is a member of “Kitamaki” which manages the purse seine operation in the north Pacific Ocean sector. The main fisheries are large and medium-sized purse seines and set nets targeting juvenile and adult Japanese sardines. This fishery is managed by the TAC system with permission from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries. 

In the 1980s, when resources were abundant, large-scale fishing grounds were formed in the Joban-Sanriku along the Pacific coast area as well as the East Hokkaido area in summer and autumn, and more than 2,000,000 tons of fish were caught. However, the fishing ground in the east of Hokkaido ceased to exist after 1994. As a result of multiple effects such as high fishing pressure, the synchrony of the stock with regime shifts, and other environmental change, the stock declined further in the 2000s, and the fishing grounds in the northern Sanriku area almost disappeared. In recent years, as resources have increased and the range of forage migration has expanded, fishing grounds have formed in the east of Hokkaido since 2012, and the catch in this area has increased from 6,000 tons in 2012 to 218,000 tons in 2019. 

Along with mackerel, Japanese sardine is the most commonly consumed popular fish in Japan. In addition to fresh fish, it is processed into dried, salted, canned, and fish oil for human consumption, and is also used as feed for farmed fish and livestock. Overall, there is much demand for Japanese Sardine in Japan. In recent years, the number of seafood products with the ASC certification increases and its demand is also high both at national and international levels. In order to respond to this situation, feed material resources  (i.e. Japanese Sardine)  for aquaculture granted ASC certification are essential to obtain MSC certification. At the same time, ensuring the sustainable production of domestic feed materials is expected to improve the competitiveness of the entire aquaculture supply chain in Japan. Therefore, we aim to improve the competitiveness of the entire Japanese aquaculture supply chain by acquiring MSC certification for the large and medium-sized purse seine fleet that catches Japanese sardine (Pacific group) procured by Ikeshita Sangyo Co.

FIP Description 

The distribution of Japanese sardine ranges across the surrounding waters of Japan, but the stock is divided into Pacific stock and the Tsushima warm-current stock for stock assessment.

FIP Objective(s) 

FIP Objective(s): This fishery is managed by total allowable catch (TAC) and harvest control rules (HCRs) with control thresholds based on MSY, which are documented in official management documents. Therefore, long-term targets for achieving the outcomes outlined in MSC Principle 1 are clearly stated. On the other hand, long-term targets to achieve the outcomes outlined in MSC Principle 2 are largely unknown: for primary (main) species, clear management targets such as TACs have been established; secondary species have not been identified, and for ETP species and habitats, management of impacts exists, but management targets and fishery-specific management plans have not unknown. So, to achieve a level of performance consistent with a pass of the MSC Standard, this Basic FIP aims to improve scores in Principle 2 mainly by collecting data by 2023 June. The following are specified objects in this basic FIP.

  1. To identify the primary and secondary species and understand how to manage them.
  2. To identify the ETP species and verify that management methods are appropriate.
  3. To check that the fishery isn’t negatively affecting the habitat.
  4. To clarify the background of the above three issues, identify issues in the current fishery, and incorporate solutions to the issues into management measures.
FIP Type 
Basic
FIP Stage 
Stage 2: FIP Launch
Start and Projected End Dates
July 2022
July 2023
Next Progress Report Due 
Tuesday, February 28, 2023
Species 
Common Name 
Japanese Sardine
Scientific Name
Sardinops melanostictus
Gear Type 
Purse Seine
Location
FAO Major Fishing Area
Area 61 (Pacific, Northwest)
Exclusive Economic Zones
Country 
Japan
Geographic Scope 
Off the east coast of Hokkaido
Country Flag of Vessel 
Japan
Landings
Estimated Total FIP Landings 
5,000 metric tons
Estimated Total Fishery Landings 
472,600 metric tons
Landings Date 
December 2021
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FIP at a Glance

25% 18% 57%
July 01, 2022
25% 18% 57%
Progress Rating (A) Advanced Progress

Reserved for comprehensive FIPs that have achieved a Stage 4 or 5 result within the past 12 months.

(B) Good Progress

A basic FIP that has achieved a Stage 4 or 5 result within 12 months.

(C) Some Recent Progress
  • A FIP that has achieved a Stage 4 or 5 result in more than 12 (but less than 24) months AND has reported a Stage 3 activity within the past six months.
  • A FIP younger than 12 months that has never achieved a Stage 4 or 5 result but has reported a Stage 3 activity within the first 12 months.
(D) Some Past Progress
  • A FIP that has achieved a Stage 4 or 5 result in more than 12 (but less than 24) months BUT has not reported a Stage 3 activity within the past six months.
  • A FIP for which the most recent Stage 4 or 5 result is more than 24 (but less than 36) months old AND a Stage 3 activity has been reported within six months.
  • A FIP 12-36 months old that has never reported a Stage 4 or 5 result AND has reported a Stage 3 activity within the past six months.
(E) Negligible Progress
  • A FIP for which the most recent Stage 4 or 5 result is more than 24 (but less than 36) months old, with no Stage 3 activity reported in the last six months.
  • A FIP younger than 12 months with no Stage 3 activity reported within 12 months.
  • A FIP 12-36 months old that has never reported a Stage 4 or 5 result AND has not reported a Stage 3 activity within the past six months.

The ratings are currently derived by SFP from publicly available data on FIP websites, including FisheryProgress.org, and are determined using the following methodology: View PDF

Not yet available
Actions Complete

This pie chart represents completed environmental actions. Non-completed environmental actions may contain completed sub-tasks that are not illustrated here. For more information on environmental action progress visit the Actions Progress tab.

  • Complete
  • Incomplete
Next Update Due FisheryProgress requires a FIP to provide update reports every six months, and two missed reports will render the FIP inactive. If a report is overdue, this date will appear red.
Feb 2023
Target End Date
Jul 2023

FIP Leads

Organization Name 
UMITO Partners Inc.
Organization Type 
Consultant
Primary Contact 
Satoshi Fukuyama
FIP Identification Number The FIP Identification Number is automatically generated by FisheryProgress when a FIP profile is created. While the number itself is not meaningful, they are used by NGOs, academia, and industry to refer to FIPs in a consistent way.
18136