The title of the first panel discussion was “Envisioning 2030 Japanese Fishery with the Fishery Reform and Resource Recovery.” Masanori Miyahara from the Japan Fisheries Research and Education Agency facilitated the panel. Masaaki Okuhara, the former Administrative Vice Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries who led the last year’s fishery act reform, Eric Schwab, who took an important role on the US’s fishery reform, and Ryohei Nomoto from Haneda Ichiba, a pioneer of the new seafood distribution system, joined on the stage.
To begin the discussion, Mr. Miyahara looked back on the history of the Japanese fishing industry by stating that Japanese people have long taken for granted that Japan is surrounded by bountiful seas, but this has not been the case recently. The catch volume is declining significantly, especially in popular species such as pacific saury and wild salmon. The reform of the Fishery Act, which Mr. Okuhara took the lead on, aims to resolve these issues fundamentally.
What needs to be done to improve the current situation? How can we improve our fishing industry to become one of the best fishing nations in the world again? The answer was to adopt robust resource management systems.
There are three pillars in the new Fishery Act. One is to control the total volume catch. This will improve the quality of the resource assessment and management. The second pillar is to increase the size of the fishing vessels, which leads to better work conditions and productivity. The last pillar is to reform fishery rights to fully utilize Japan’s surrounding waters.
“Japan has been neglecting the fact that the domestic fisheries have been declining in past decades. However, regional development is impossible without the agriculture, forestry, and fishing industries.” Mr. Okuhara stated.
Mr. Nomoto has been working on improving the distribution system by establishing new routes to connect fishermen and buyers faster. Working closely with fishermen around Japan, Mr. Nomoto sees the importance and difficulty of the fishery reform.
Mr. Nomoto states that the mentality of the Japanese fishing industry, “how to catch as many fish as possible,” needs to transition to “how to sell at the highest price.”
For example, a small mackerel weighing 20g used for compost or feed costs roughly ¥1. However, a mackerel that has been nurtured to about 600g that we see in stores and restaurants costs about ¥500. Mr. Nomoto explains that by switching to management based on the total catch, fishermen will earn more by catching more expensive fish. In this instance, smaller fish will be left in the ocean to grow and reproduce, making the fishing industry a sustainable, profitable business.
Next, Mr. Schwab shared his experience of fishery reform in the United States.
In the United States, fishing industry regulations were reformed in 2006, and significant results followed in the next ten years. Out of the fish species that faced extinction because of overfishing, 45 are no longer endangered. The fishing industry produced more than 212 billion dollars and generated 1.76 million jobs. He says that similar results can be expected in Japan.
Mr. Schwab stated, “The content of the reform is important, but implementation is also important.” These efforts require time and effort, as they must value fairness and receive agreement from every party. Based on his experience, he believes that decisions must be based on scientific evidence, and its process must be transparent and engage all stakeholders.
President, Fisheries Research & Education Agency Special Adviser, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries for International Affairs Adviser, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries for Fisheries Policy Reform
1978 BS Faculty of Fisheries Science, University of Tokyo
1985 MA Department of Political Science, Duke University
1978 Joined Fisheries Agency of Japan
1986－90 First Secretary, Embassy of Japan in US
1994－97 Director of Fishery Dev. ,Ishikawa Prefecture
2002ー05 Chairman of International Commission for Conservation of Atlantic Tunas
2005－08 Director, Fisheries Coordination Div, Fisheries Agency
2008－11 Senior Counselor, Fisheries Agency
2011－14 Deputy Director General, Fisheries Agency
2011ー13 Chairman of ICCAT
2013ー Visiting Professor of Nagoya University
2014ー President, Fisheries Research & Education Agency
Special Adviser to Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries for
2017ー Adviser to Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries for Fisheries
Former Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries Administrative Vice-Minister
Graduated Azabu High School・University of Tokyo Faculty of Law.
Joined the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in 1979, and went on to serve as Assistant Director of the Fisheries Marketing Division, First Secretary at the Japanese Embassy in Germany, Secretary to the Minister, Section Chief of the Agricultural Cooperatives Division at the Economic Affairs Bureau, Director of the General Affairs Division at the Food Safety and Consumer Affairs Bureau, Director of the Secretarial Division of the Minister's Secretariat, Division Chief of the Fisheries Administration Department at the Fisheries Agency, Bureau Chief of the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Research Council, Bureau Chief of the Food Safety and Consumer Affairs Bureau, and Bureau Chief of the Management Improvement Bureau before becoming Vice-Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in 2016, and retiring in 2018.
While serving in Germany he witnessed the reunification of East and West Germany, and as Bureau Chief of the Management Improvement Bureau and as Vice-Minister was engaged in the the enactment of agricultural land bank laws, restructuring of the agricultural cooperatives, enhancement of agricultural competitiveness programs, and the restructuring of the forestry and fishery industries.
A more detailed account of these events is described in "Reforming Agricultural Policy -The Job and Responsibilities of an Administrative Official-", published in July 2019 (Nikkei Publishing).
Haneda Ichiba Co.,Ltd. CEO
Born November 23rd, 1965 in Chiba Prefecture
Founder of Haneda Ichiba
After leaving his family's delicatessen business in 2000, he became the executive vice president of AP company in 2009. In 2013, he became the managing executive officer of Kakiyasu Honten, and started his own business in 2014.
In September 2015, he established a fresh seafood processing center in the Haneda International Airport terminal, which is the first of its kind in Japan.Seafood products with outstanding freshness are bought directly from fishers and fishery cooperatives throughout Japan via air transport. This led to the development of a new distribution system where the fish is processed in the center and shipped out on the same day. Most of the products are sold to department stores, volume retail stores, supermarkets, fresh seafood retail stores, the Toyoso Market, restaurant chains, and more. Instead of just around the Tokyo area, the sales area has been expanding to all across Japan as well as North America and Southeast Asia.
Ryohei appeared on TV programs such as "Cambria Kyuuden," "Gaia no Yoake," and "Hayashi-sensei ga Odoroku Hatsumimigaku!," and received coverage in many business magazines and newspapers.
Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) Senior Vice President, Oceans
In his role as Senior Vice President for the Oceans program, Eric leads a global team of scientists, lawyers and advocates working to create thriving, resilient oceans. He brings more than two decades of experience in government and the foundation and non-profit sectors, driving complex conservation initiatives to scale.
Schwaab, who served as head of NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), has deep expertise coordinating environmental policy while working with stakeholders on all sides to ensure the best possible outcomes for the environment and fishing communities. At NMFS, Eric led the transformation of U.S. fisheries management, including widespread adoption of science-based catch limits and catch shares. He represented the United States in negotiations of international fishing treaties such as the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT).