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Project for Reforming Fishing Boats and Fisheries Structure: Hiroya Suisan's Dai 88 Inari-Maru Completed

March 15, 2010

Hiroya Suisan (President/Purse Seine Fleet Head Hisashi Hiroya) completed the construction of 200-ton coastal purse seiner "Dai Hachiju-hachi Inari-Maru" (The 88th Inari-Maru), which was a part of the Project For Reforming Fishing Vessels And Fisheries Structure (the profitable fisheries project). Its completion ceremony was held at the Port of Hasaki on March 11. Under the clear sky, the vessel became open to the public; trial voyage was carried out; and a ceremony of throwing rice cakes was conducted. Stakeholders involved celebrated the completion of the vessel and prayed for its safe operation and big haul. The vessel was built at Kidoura Zosen in Kesennuma City.

Hiroya Suisan operates two far seas purse seiners and a costal purse seine fleet. The company newly built a far seas purse seiner five years earlier; this time it constructed a replacement vessel for an aged coastal purse seiner as a part of the Project For Reforming Fishing Vessels And Fisheries Structure promoted by the Fisheries Agency. The new ship is given the characteristics of energy efficiency, power saving, and labor efficiency. Upgraded living space and safety is also included. The ultimate goals are cost reductions and resources sustainability.

The company's operation system will be modified from a four-ship system, purse seiners (80t), a search vessel (81t), and a search vessel/cargo vessel (203t), to a three-ship style, a purse seiner, a search vessel/cargo vessel, and a cargo vessel. With drastic labor cost reductions and improved added value of catches meeting market demand, the Inari-Maru is considered as a model ship that will play an important role in the fisheries structure reform plan which places an emphasis on profitability.

The original article was published on March 15, 2010 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

Tsukiji Tuna Group Congregates to Protest Against Bluefin Being Added to CITES

March 12, 2010

A group of tuna middle traders in Tsukiji, Tokyo Tsukiji Uoichiba Omono Gyokai, held a rally titled "Protect Marine Resources and Food Culture: Don't Condone Overexploitation!" at Tsukiji Market on March 11. The goals of the gathering were to vehemently oppose a proposal to include the bluefin tuna and ban the trading of the fish internationally under CITES, and to collect signatures against the overexploitation of bigeye and yellowfin tunas by other fishing countries in the Central and Western Pacific Ocean.

The rally took place about the same time when a conference of the contracting parties to CITES was to be held; therefore, there were a slew of media outlets, TV stations, newspaper companies, as well as foreign news agencies at the site.

Prevention of Overfishing of Bigeye and Yellowfin by Purse Seiners

At the opening of the rally Chairman of the tuna group Tadao Ban gave a speech: "We, all of us working at Tsukiji Market, are collecting signatures today, so that CITES won't list the bluefin tuna. Moreover, we must prevent bigeye and yellowfin tuna stocks in the Central and Western Pacific Ocean from falling into the same devastating situation in the same manner as those in the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean. If we leave [the bycatch and overfishing of bigeye and yellowfin tunas by large purse seiners] as it is, tunas will disappear from the market. Therefore, market stakeholders in the Kanto area take initiative and appeal to the Japanese government for the prevention of bycatch and overexploitation by way of petition drive. In order to protect our food culture, we will do our best to not let tunas vanish from our market." Market stakeholders at the site thereafter chanted slogans.

After the rally, Chairman Ban and other executives of the group held a press conference and referred to the bluefin population in the Atlantic Ocean: "Resources management by the ICCAT is desirable, not the Washington Convention. It is said that one bluefin tuna bears one million eggs and the species shouldn't be considered as an endangered one."

As to the bycatch and overhunting of bigeye and yellowfin tunas, they said, "In the Central and Western Pacific 30 of 2,0000-ton grade purse seiners mainly of overseas Chinese have been added. We will demand out and out resources management, like the tagging of catches by purse seiners, to the government."

The original article was published on March 12, 2010 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

Deep Sea Bonito Ship Owners Association's Growing Interest in MSC Certification

March 9, 2010

In an attempt to differentiate frozen B-1 bonito, the Deep Sea Bonito Ship Owners Association is asking the Japan Tuna Fisheries Cooperatives to apply for the MSC certification.

Tosakatsuo Suisan, which produces and sells seared bonito products using only B-1 bonito, successfully received the MSC certification for its deep-sea skipjack fishing boat, Toyokuni-maru, and a leading mass retailer Aeon jumped on an opportunity to market Tosakasuo Suisan's MSC certified bonito products. Looking at this way of selling MSC certified seared bonito products, the association decided to ask for the MSC certification as part of its strategies of B-1 product differentiation.

Some ship owner said, referring to the MSC certification on deep-sea bonito fishing vessel: "In the face of tough conditions surrounding high sea bonito fishing, we are thinking to take on the acquisition of the MSC certification as one of the ways to differentiate B-1 products. Other than the MSC, the Japan Fisheries Association's MEL Japan offers certification on sustainability. In the case of MEL Japan, far seas purse seine can obtain the certification, too; therefore, for our pole and line skipjack tuna fishing we chose the MSC certification. However, only a limited number of ship owners are strongly seeking the MSC certification; and the majority of owners can go either way, the MSC or MEL Japan, just wanting to have B-1 products differentiated and raise their auction prices at the port." The owners association is asking the Japan Tuna Fisheries Cooperatives to allocate part of the marketing reserve fund for the application to the MSC.

There are a number of stakeholders, who point out, concerning the request by the ship owners, that: "Because the MSC is backed by environment conservation groups and there have been confrontations relating to the issues of whale research and tuna fishing, there is an allergic reaction to the MSC by Japan's fisheries industry. Resultantly, deep-sea bonito fisheries' obtaining the MSC certification will have repercussions within the fishing industry."

The original article was published on March 9, 2010 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

Nichimo Acquires Exclusive Marketing Rights of Surimi of San Arawa S.A. in Argentina

March 4, 2010

In order to realize continuous supply of surimi for processors in Japan, Nichimo, located in Tokyo under management of President Yukio Koike, announced that the company had invested $5.5 million to acquire ten-year exclusive marketing rights of surimi produced by a surimi vessel 'Tai An' of San Arawa SA in Ushuaia, Argentina.

As global demand on white fish rises and Alaska pollack are now mainly processed to fillet, surimi production is on the decline. In the midst of this trend, the company foresaw the increasing value of Southern blue whiting and hoki, which equally provide high quality surimi as pollack.

Nichimo has purchased Southern blue whiting and hoki from San Arawa SA and distributed the fish mostly to the western part of Japan for years. There were numerous processors that requested products of San Arawa SA; Nichimo resultantly came to a decision to make an investment in an attempt to secure a constant supply of surimi.

The said investment entailed Nichimo's 100 percent acceptance of the allocation of new shares to a third party of San Arawa SA.

The new capital amount of San Arawa SA came to 11 million pesos. The company runs fillet ships other than surimi vessels, and engages in producing and selling surimi, meal, and dressed products.

Nichimo also acquired the shares of Yamaichi Suisan in Hokkaido (President Masami Yanagawa), a surimi processor, and had the company join as a consolidated subsidiary of Nichimo for the purpose of stable supply of surimi in December 2008.

The original article was published on March 4, 2010 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

Nippon Suisan: Chilean Quake Causes No Human Casualties

March 2, 2010

Nippon Suisan reported on the extent of the damage caused by an earthquake in Chile: "As of February 28, we confirmed the safety of Japanese expatriate employees as well as those in business assignment. Regarding employees in Chile, our investigation on their safety hasn't returned any negative results so far."

Operation sites (Los Angeles feed plant and fresh water farm) of a Chilean aquaculture company Salmones Antartica S.A., located in Santiago City, near the epicenter, reported property damage. It was announced that post-quake recovery efforts had already begun.

The original article was published on March 2, 2010 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

Maruha Nichiro Foods Markets Red Snow Crab Shumai

March 2, 2010

Maruha Nichiro Foods, in addition to meat shumai already sold commercially, is slated to market surimi shumai.

Maruha Nichiro's specialty meat shumai has gained 23 percent market share. Sadaaki Yokote, Corporate Office/Director of Commercial Frozen Foods, referred to the surimi shumai market: "Surimi shumai accounts for 77 per cent of all, which is an overwhelming share. Therefore, our company has decided to make a full-scale entry into the surimi shumai market, aiming to expand our share in the shumai market."

A new product "Beni Zuwai-gani Shumai" (red snow crab shumai) has an authentic touch of Chinese cuisine, supervised by Akasaka Rikyu Executive Chef Tan. Chunks of red snow crab are used as a topping.

The original article was published on March 2, 2010 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

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