Major breakthrough for sustainable tuna as Global Tuna Alliance secures first Japanese Partner

The Global Tuna Alliance (GTA) hailed a “major breakthrough” with its announcement that Meiho Co Ltd., a fish processing company based in Shiogama City, Japan, has become the GTA’s latest Partner and its first-ever in Japan. The move is a significant one for the GTA as, along with the U.S., Japan represents one of the largest consumers of tuna in the world and is the second-largest tuna fishing nation.

The Global Tuna Alliance has been a key actor in the international fisheries management arena in recent years, leveraging the collective market influence of its Partners to advocate for the environmentally sustainable and socially responsible fishing of global tuna stocks. Since its formation in 2019, the pre-competitive collaboration has grown from an initiative of retailers and supply chain companies based entirely in Europe to one which now spans four continents.

Japan has always been a tantalizing prospect when considering its market share and political influence. In 2018, landings of tuna in Japan were calculated at almost 370,000 metric tonnes, while Japan consumes a quarter of the world’s tuna catch, mostly for sashimi use. The Japanese delegation is also an authoritative presence at tuna Regional Fisheries Management Organization (RFMO) meetings, where tuna management decisions are made.

In 2023, Gunther Errhalt was announced as the GTA’s new Japan Outreach Officer, to develop engagement in Japan in the hopes of replicating the same growth achieved in Europe and the U.S.

Speaking about the significance of the GTA’s new Partner, Gunther said:  

“We’re delighted that Meiho has demonstrated their commitment to a future of sustainable, socially responsible tuna fishing by joining forces with the Global Tuna Alliance. This is a major breakthrough for the GTA, which has been seeking to connect with seafood market players in Japan since its inception.”

“Meiho’s decision to join the GTA signifies that they are stalwart defenders of tuna, while simultaneously acting as a beacon to others in Japan, encouraging them to make their voice heard in the global supply chain. With Meiho at the forefront of this effort in Asia, I am confident that more Japanese members will follow suit. This will strongly motivate decision-makers across the region to attentively consider the market’s perspective.”

Tomo Matano, the COO of Culimer USA LLC., a current GTA Partner who were instrumental in connecting Meiho with the GTA, said:

“Japan has long been the inspiration for harvesting and handling seafood, and sushi has become a global food. It is a core American food today, and we have made it our own. We are so proud to work with Meiho Foods Company, the first Japanese company to join the Global Tuna Alliance and represent the ideals of tuna sustainability and excellence.”

“This partnership symbolizes a shared commitment to sustainability and leadership. Meiho pursued and won MSC certification for skipjack tuna in 2006, the first company to do so. Their commitments to MSC, the Global Tuna Alliance, traceability, and all such make it possible for us to successfully introduce Meiho products to North American customers. This commitment is key for the clients we work with, including some of North America’s top supermarkets. Together, we are set to make impactful strides towards a sustainable future”.

Daniel Suddaby, the GTA’s Executive Director, added:

“2024 marks a defining moment for the Global Tuna Alliance as we launch the next stage in our evolution: GTA Phase II.

It’s been a consequential start to a year of change for GTA. We are broadening the GTA’s global scope and influence by Partnering in new markets like Japan. We have just reinforced our governance structures with the implementation of a Partner-empowering new charter and we are about to recruit new talent to grow our GTA team, allowing us to expand our outreach and engagement. All of this in turn, allows us to shift our focus toward delivering disruptive, impactful campaigns that drive home the growing urgency in which the market is looking for action on the sustainable, responsible and transparent management of tuna stocks.”

We use third-party cookies to personalise content and analyse site traffic.

Learn more