ASC-approved cherry salmon.

Cherry salmon proves fruitful for Japanese fish farmer

Izumisawa Suisan is first to obtain ASC certification for the species


Japanese farm Izumisawa Suisan has become the first commercial farm to obtain Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification for its cherry salmon production. The farm, which also produces coho salmon, is based in Kamaishi City in Iwate Prefecture along the Kamaishi Bay.

Cherry salmon, named for its pink cherry-coloured scales, boasts a refined, light flesh colour and delicate fat. Its name is derived from the fact that it is often harvested during the enchanting “sakura” or cherry blossom season in Japan.

Izumisawa Suisan collaborated with the city and Iwate University to begin cherry salmon farming trials in November 2020. It then moved on to trial farming of coho salmon then launched a full-scale business last year.

Izumisawa Suisan’s salmon farm in Japan.

The company is currently using four 40-metre-diameter circular marine pens and aims to ship 1,000 tonnes of cherry salmon and coho salmon yearly.

Izumisawa Suisan’s president Hiroshi Izumisawa said: “We are very honoured to have our achievements in environmentally friendly aquaculture recognised. This certification is trusted internationally, and we would like to utilise it in our future sales strategy.”

Izumisawa also aims to work towards exports to European countries with the acquisition of ASC certification.

Responsible farming

Koji Yamamoto, the ASC’s general manager in Japan, said: “We are delighted to recognise Izumisawa Suisan’s contribution to responsible commercial farming of cherry salmon. Through this certification, we are able to increase environmental responsibility and social awareness in the farming of cherry salmon and at the same time create an opportunity to promote this rare Japanese delicacy locally and globally.”

The certification ceremony was attended by about 30 participants, including representatives of ASC Japan, the Conformity Assessment Body (CAB) Amita, Iwate Prefecture and Kamaishi City, local processing manufacturers, and Iwate University. Guests sampled the cherry salmon and coho salmon sashimi and grilled dishes and evaluated their quality.