Fishery Improvement Project
Last Update: April 2013
Species: Alaska pollock (Theragra chalcogramma)
FIP Scope/Scale: Stock level
Fishery Location: Japan, see Alaska pollock - Japanese Pacific for map
If you would like more information about the FIP or wish to support the FIP, please contact SFP.
The project currently lacks direct industry engagement but efforts ongoing to address this situation.
Fisheries Agency; Japan Fisheries Association (JFA); Japan Fisheries Resources Conservation Association (JFRCA); Hokkaido Prefecture Department of Fisheries and Forests, Fisheries Division.
See Summary and Sustainability Info tabs in this link: Alaska pollock - Japanese Pacific
Date Publicly Announced: 2008
FIP Stage: 2, FIP is formed
Current Improvement Recommendations:
- Stock is currently healthy, but forecasted to decline in a few years if fishing mortality continues to be at the same level. Management needs to incorporate precautionary harvest control rules to ensure long-term sustainability.
- TAC needs to be set at or less than scientific advice (Allowable Biological Catch) to meet international sustainable management standard.
- To evaluate impacts on environment and biodiversity, bottom trawl fishery’s management and compliance information need to be collected (no IUU, monitoring, etc.).
The beginning of the FIP
The Japanese Pollock Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) covers Japan’s Pacific stock pollock fishery, which operates off the northeast coast of Honshu and southeast of Hokkaido. This is Japan’s main pollock fishery, comprising the largest of four distinct stocks and constituting 75 percent of the pollock catch in Japan.
Japanese suppliers have faced a sustainability requirement set by foreign buyer companies and a need for diversifying product sources to ensure stable supply in the global market. To meet these foreign market demands, suppliers are helping SFP gather information on the fishery through introduction of contacts in government and fishery associations, etc.
Suppliers are continuing dialogues with SFP to see what actions are feasible in Japan to promote substantial improvement in the fishery and its regulations.
Japan imports pollock largely from the US and Russia to supplement its domestic pollock production. The Japanese have historically caught pollock mainly for its fish roe, a delicacy that attains a higher price than its meat. The rest of the fish meat has been consumed domestically or in other Asian nations without requirement for sustainability information. If Japanese pollock meets foreign buyers’ sustainability requirements, it may be able to expand its market to Europe and America to attain higher prices.
- Limit biomass (Blim) is set and biomass is maintained high above the limit, however there is no target reference point (Btrp) set. The first priority is to define a clear Btrp for the fishery. If the stock is then confirmed to be below this level, the FIP will review whether additional improvement measures are required to ensure the biomass rebuilds to target levels. Japanese stock assessment scientists have not historically used Btrp.
- TAC is set above advised ABC.
The goal of the Japanese Pollock FIP is to improve the fishery by pressing for better management and policies to ensure long-term sustainability of the resources and increase management transparency to an international standard, while voluntarily changing purchasing and fishing practices to meet market demands for sustainability.
The objectives of the FIP are to:
1. Engage the central and Hokkaido governments, academic institutions, and other stakeholders in a dialogue about how to collectively improve the fishery to ensure the long-term sustainability of the resource, and to meet the sustainability requirements of the international market.
2. Encourage the fishery to adopt a long-term management plan with a target reference point.
3. Align TAC with the scientific advice on ABC.
4. Collect more information on monitoring, control, and environmental performance in the fishery.
Meetings took place with supply chain partners and researchers, and were scheduled with fishers in an effort to identify scenarios that will interest and benefit all parties.
- In May 2011, SFP collaborated with Japanese scientists to identify a Btrp proxy by estimating maximum sustainable yield (MSY) based on publicly available data. The result showed that current biomass is probably at or above B40%. Also, in 2010, SSB was at a particularly high level despite decreasing total resources. We hope that this result will encourage an official Btrp setting for the fishery.
- SFP interpreted the status of the Japanese pollock stock, and maintains a dialogue on improvements with companies and other stakeholders.
January - March
- New information has been added to FishSource concerning Japanese fisheries management approaches and stock status determination.
- FIP is in process of recruiting a local project co-ordinator
Click here for a more comprehensive description of FIP results