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Changes in Marine Eco-Label Japan (MEL) through International Standardization and Comparison with MSC: Focusing on Vessel Size and Fishing Gears in Certified Fisheries

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  • Marine Eco-Label Japan (MEL) is a unique Japanese seafood eco-labeling scheme launched in Japan shortly after the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) opened its office to evaluate the management of Japanese fisheries resources by large-scale commercial fisheries and small-scale and diverse fishing gear. It became MEL ver. 2 and was approved by the the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI) in December 2019 to meet international standards. This study examined the number of certified fishing vessels, the proportion of small scale/large-scale vessels, and differences in certified fishing gears for MEL ver. 1, ver. 2, and MSC in Japan. Fisheries certified using MEL ver. 1 was a pelagic trawl and passive gear, while those by the MSC were bottom trawls and dredges; passive gear accounted for the majority of the total. The proportion of small scale fisheries was higher in MEL ver. 1 than in MSC. MEL ver. 2 followed the trend of MEL ver. 1 with respect to vessel size and fishing gear in certified fisheries. Although both MSC and MEL ver. 2 are seafood eco-labeling programs that meet international standards, the trends in certified fisheries are different and segregated.
  • Keywords: MEL, MSC, GSSI, vessel size, fishing gears
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  • Vigo, Galicia, Spain
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