Eco-labeling of Fish and Fishery Products in Japan: Analysis of a web survey

Author Name MORITA Tamaki  (Yamanashi Prefectural University) /MANAGI Shunsuke  (Faculty Fellow, RIETI)
Creation Date/NO. July 2010 10-J-037
Research Project Economic Analysis of Resource Management in the Fisheries Industry
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Eco-labeling systems for fish and fishery products provide the fishery industry with incentives to conserve marine resources and protect the environment. Under these systems, unlike command-and-control fishery management mechanisms, the fishery industry voluntarily controls their catch. By choosing products labeled as ecologically friendly, consumers can also help promote sustainable fisheries.

Despite Japan being a major fishing and fish-consuming country, the system is still in its infancy. One reason may be that Japanese consumers are not aware of the fisheries’ harmful ecological impacts and the relationship of these impacts with their seafood consumption. Would Japanese consumers change their consumption patterns if they knew which of the fish available in the supermarkets, were being overfished?

We devised a web survey that included discrete choice conjoint analysis. We investigated what kind of information influences consumers’ awareness of overfishing, and also what affects consumers’ preferences regarding eco-labeled seafood. Our study revealed that Japanese consumers are willing to choose seafood based on eco-labeling when they: understand the role of eco-labeling, encounter reliable information about the item’s relationship with marine resources, and know that a reliable organization is responsible for the labels. This result supports the idea of designing a feasible eco-labeling mechanism in Japan.