Marine Resources

Basic Approach

The Maruha Nichiro Group has a history rooted in the sea and spanning over 140 years. Precious natural resources and the natural life force of the sea have supported our growth.

With the increase in the world's population and the economic development of emerging countries, the demand for fish consumption is expected to increase in the future. In order to meet demands and protect marine resources, we will continue to contribute to the creation of a sustainable global environment and society through our business activities.

KGIs and KPIs from FY2022 to FY2030

Materiality: Action for preserving biodiversity and ecosystem

Ideal state in 2030 (KGI): Confirm that there is no risk of resource depletion in the fish stocks we handle

Achievement targets (KPI)Target yearTarget valueFY2022
Resource status confirmation rate of handled seafood
products (Overall G)
2030100%Resource status confirmation rate of handled marine products: 81.8%★★★☆☆
Conduct biodiversity risk assessment (Domestic G)2024-Method for conducting biodiversity risk assessment under review☆☆☆☆☆
Implementation of certification level management for
aquaculture farms (Domestic G)
2024-Formulation of draft voluntary management standards for aquaculture farms★★★☆☆

Note: The department in charge is Corporate Planning Department Sustainability Group, Maruha Nichiro Corporation.

Message from Representative

Corporate Planning Department Acting General Manager Hiroyuki Metoki

Hiroyuki Metoki

Acting General Manager
Corporate Planning Department

As mentioned in this article, it is important to monitor the resource status of marine products we handle, and we must respond appropriately. Conversely, most marine products we procure go through several stages of distribution after they are landed, and have already been processed in various ways. From the perspective of resources, it is necessary to calculate the weight at the time of landing based on the amount of processed marine products. Also, in order to ascertain the status of resource management, it is necessary to ascertain this in a subdivided way, as the management status varies based on the timing, place, and method of the catch, even for the same type of species. While resource surveys require a considerable amount of labor, we will give the highest priority to responding to the result of this survey.

Main Initiatives in FY2022

Overview of the Second Marine Resources Survey

We launched a marine resources survey from 2019, and in FY2021 we conducted a second year-long survey targeting raw materials and products procured outside the Group. We will continue conducting this survey with the aim of realizing our ideal state in 2030, based on our belief that monitoring the state of marine resources handled in our business activities will help us recognize issues and make improvements to preserve biodiversity and ecosystems.

Survey Objective

  • To gain an overall picture of the marine products handled by the Maruha Nichiro Group (fish species, area, quantity, etc.)
  • Assessment of resource status and management of natural marine products handled
  • Identification of issues and consideration of countermeasures to achieve KGI

Survey Method

FY of implementation First (FY2020) Second (FY2022)
Target FYFY2019FY2021*¹
Survey scope48 Group companies (31 in domestic, 17 overseas)42 Group companies (25 in domestic, 17 overseas)
Analysis agency /
Reference data
Evaluation methodOur proprietary criteriaCriteria of ODP*⁴ methodologies
Evaluation criteria(1) Healthy
The five FishSource scores average 6 or higher, and score 4 is 6 or higher
(2) Not healthy
The five FishSource scores average less than 6, or score 4 is less than 6
(3) Date deficient
If there are missing items for the five FishSource scores and evaluation cannot be performed
(1) Well managed
The five FishSource scores are all 8 or higher
(2) Managed
The five FishSource scores are all 6 or higher
(3) Needs improvement
If there is a score less than 6 for the five FishSource scores
(4) Not scored
If there are missing items for the five FishSource scores and evaluation cannot be performed

*1: April 2021-March 2022 for domestic and some overseas companies; January 2021-December 2021 for other overseas companies

*2: Sustainable Fisheries Partnership. The US NPO which manages FishSource.*3

*3: An international marine resources database developed based on marine resources information from the administrative agencies of various countries.

*4: Ocean Disclosure Project. An information disclosure platform aimed at enhancing the transparency of marine product procurement, managed by the SFP.

Survey Results

Marine Products Overall

Marine products overall

In FY2021, the Group as a whole handled approximately 1.7 million tons of raw fish equivalent, and in terms of scientific name, handled 337 species of wild fish and 83 species of farmed fish. On the other hand, the amount of non-classifiable was approx. 120,000 tons, mainly from raw materials for feed, and while this is an improvement from 140,000 tons at the time of the previous survey, we recognize that it is still a major issue.

Wild Capture Marine Products

Wild Capture Marine Products
Note: Scope of survey is Maruha Nichiro Corporation

In order to evaluate the resource status and management status of wild capture marine, we conducted an analysis based on the SFP’s ODP methodology. As a result, we found that among wild capture marine handled by Maruha Nichiro Group, 44%, or about 600,000 tons, was evaluated as “Well managed,” and of this, most of this, were mainly Alaska pollock and other similar species caught by fishery businesses certified as sustainable by MSC or other agencies. In addition, 27%, or about 370,000 tons, was evaluated as “Managed.” In contrast, 15%, or about 200,000 tons was evaluated as “Needs improvement,” and 14%, or about 190,000 tons, was evaluated as “Not scored” due to insufficient data, and we recognize that these are issues requiring improvement.

Wild Capture Marine Products Categorized as “Needs Improvement”

Wild Capture Marine Products Categorized as “Needs Improvement”

Wild Capture Marine Products Categorized as “Not Scored”

Wild Capture Marine Products Categorized as “Not Scored”

The top five species accounted for 53% of the “Needs improvement” category. Regarding fish species classified as “Not scored” due to insufficient data, such as golden threadfin bream and largehead hairtail, we will work to accurately ascertain the situation by obtaining more detailed information on the catch area and fishing method of these handled marine products.

Endangered Species

As a result of this survey, we confirmed that some of the wild capture marine handled include fish species that fall under the category of endangered species (EN) as defined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) (diagram below). We will continue handling fish species caught in accordance with fishery business management rules while monitoring the situation based on scientific knowledge, and discuss reviewing the handling of other fish species.

Handling of Endangered Species (As of June 2023*1)

Red List evaluationSpeciesScientific name Weight (t)Country of procurementRemarks
(Endangered species)
Southern bluefin tunaThunnus maccoyii732Japan, New Zealand,
South Korea, Taiwan
Has resource recovery plan
(Endangered species)
Shortfin makoIsurus oxyrinchus575ChinaGradual considerations regarding handling based on viewpoint of effective use of by-products
(Endangered species)
Acadian redfishSebastes fasciatus71Norway, United States, Åland Islands, JapanConsider a review of handling

*1: Evaluation results from SFP and handling data is from FY2021

*2: IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) category: Endangered (EN)

Realizing Our Ideal State in 2030

It is essential to make improvements on identified issues in order to realize our ideal state in 2030. We will promote a cycle of periodical surveys, issue identification, and improvement, with the aim of realizing our ideal state in 2030.

Future Roadmap

Future roadmap

Enhancing Access to the North American Alaska Pollock Resources

To further enhance our ability to procure sustainable marine products, in January 2022, the Maruha Nichiro Group acquired an Alaska pollock processing facility and nine fishing vessels from Icicle Seafoods Inc. of the United States, further strengthening our access to pollock resources in North America's Bering Sea.

Rights to wild marine resources, such as fishing quotas, are limited worldwide, and new acquisitions can be quite difficult. Through the addition of this access share, we will be strengthening our access to Alaska pollock, a plentiful and sustainable fish species, in the large waters that is the Bering Sea. In addition to capturing approximately 27% of the whole general quota share (the quota share generally available to companies, excluding the quota given to natives) in the Bering Sea Alaska pollock quota, and assuming the time of the first marine resources survey as of 2019, this would equate to an increase in certified sustainable fisheries from approximately 820,000 tons to approximately 880,000 tons.

In addition, compared to other proteins, it has been reported that Alaska pollock is a climate-friendly protein. As a sustainable protein, global demand is strong from the standpoint of population growth and health consciousness, but it will be possible to cater more to general consumers in various forms such as fillets and surimi.

Northern Victor processing facility
Northern Victor processing facility

Use of Seafood Products Obtained through Sustainable Fishery/Aquaculture Certificates (MSC/ASC)

The Maruha Nichiro Group actively promotes the handling of MSC/ASC-certified seafood products.

As of April 2023, Maruha Nichiro Corporation has handled 2,010 tons of consumer frozen foods bearing the MSC Marine Eco-Label in FY2022, which was more than the 1,195 tons in FY2021. The amount of foods bearing the ASC label handled in 2022 (period between January 1 and December 31) was approx. 1.3 tons, which significantly decreased from approx. 3 tons in 2021. The main reasons is thought to be the impact of soaring prices of raw materials.

Trend in Volume of Frozen Foods for Household Use Bearing the MSC Label


Trend in Volume of Frozen Foods for Household Use Bearing the MSC Label
Note: Scope of survey is Maruha Nichiro Corporation

Trend in Volume of Processed Foods for Household Use Bearing the ASC Label


Trend in Volume of Processed Foods for Household Use Bearing the ASC Label
Note: Scope of survey is Maruha Nichiro Corporation

Activities for Obtaining Sustainable Aquaculture Certification (ASC Certification) for Greater Amberjack and Yellowtail

Maruha Nichiro Corporation AQUA Kunezu fishery (formerly Amami Yougyo Inc.) became the first company in the world to receive ASC certification for greater amberjack aquaculture in July 2019 and full-scale shipments began in May 2020.

Maruha Nichiro Corporation AQUA Kamiura Fishing Grounds (formerly Aquafarm Co., Ltd.) obtained ASC certification for yellowtail aquaculture in April 2018, and full-scale shipments began in Febrary 2019.
We will continue to deliver to customers through an integrated value chain that encompasses catch, live transport, fillet processing at specified plants contracted by Maruha Nichiro, and sale through mass retailers.

Greater amberjack farming
Greater amberjack farming
Maruha Nichiro Corporation AQUA Kunezu Fishing Grounds
Maruha Nichiro Corporation AQUA Kunezu Fishing Grounds

Note: On Friday, April 1, 2022, the six Group Companies engaged in the aquaculture operations were merged into two companies, Maruha Nichiro AQUA Co., Ltd. and Maruha Nichiro Marine Co., Ltd. Maruha Nichiro AQUA (Head Office: Kagoshima City, Kagoshima Prefecture) integrated four companies in the Kyushu region, Sakurajima Yougyo Co., Ltd., Amami Yougyo Inc., Aquafarm Co., Ltd., and Genkai Co., Ltd. while Maruha Nichiro Marine Co., Ltd. (Head Office in Kushimoto, Wakayama Prefecture) integrated two companies in the Kishu region, Kushimoto Marinefarm Co., Ltd. and Kumano Yougyo.

Other Initiatives