Few communities suffered greater losses in the March 2011 Japan tsunami than Minamisanriku. Thousands of Minamisanriku residents lost their homes and their livelihoods. Since May 2011, Peace Winds has been supporting Minamisanriku fishing cooperatives and members to revive the economy. The catch of Minamisanriku fishermen is pivotal to the town’s economic recovery.
Minamisanriku is home to Shizugawa Fishing Cooperative and Udatsu Fishing Cooperative. In 2012 Peace Winds and these cooperatives are working to support the seasonal needs of fishermen. Most recently, Peace Winds and the cooperative leaders developed a plan to enable abalone and sea urchin fishermen to return to work. Peace Winds and the cooperatives are targeting fishing equipment support to 500 Minamisanriku abalone and sea urchin fishermen. From late summer through early autumn, the Shizugawa and Udatsu Cooperatives are taking orders for fishing equipment that Peace Winds agreed to provide.
In late autumn, full-time and part-time Minamisanriku fishermen will harvest abalone for the first time since the March 2011 tsunami. According to Udatsu Fishing Cooperative President Funabiki Chiba, this season’s abalone harvest is projected to increase the income of each abalone fisherman by $5,000 (400,000 Yen). Abalone and sea urchin harvests provide income that complements the wakame (seaweed), trout salmon, octopus, and other fishing seasons. By supporting the abalone and sea urchin fishermen, Peace Winds is creating jobs and restoring the livelihoods of Minamisanriku fishermen.
Minamisanriku fishermen use traditional methods to harvest abalone and sea urchin, which require specialized oars, shellfish locators, carbon or bamboo poles, hooks, and joints to connect the poles and hooks. The traditional methods have been passed down for generations, having cultural and historical significance to the Minamisanriku fishermen and community. Peace Winds is grateful for your support to Minamisanriku fishing cooperatives and fishermen.
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