Revitalize the Fishing Industry in Northeast Japan

by Peace Winds America
Jan 29, 2013

Abalone fishermen celebrate first harvesting in two years!

Fishermen harvesting Abalone traditional way
Fishermen harvesting Abalone traditional way

Miamisanriku fishermen celebrate the first abalone season in two years!

Abalone, a treasured delicacy selling at a high price, is critical to the economy of Minamisanriku. For generations, fishing families have harvested the abalone from the rocks at sea bottom using traditional methods—using waterglasses and long rods and special hooks.  The entire community uses the traditional method to ensure the natural and highest quality of their harvest. The fishing families call the abalone harvest the “winter bonus” as it generates income to many families especially during the slow fishing season during November--January.  

The last abalone harvest was winter of 2010.  In the winter of 2011, abalone harvesting was canceled by the community because majority of the fishing families lacked equipment and boats.  The community guarded the area from illegal poaching.

Keeping the traditional harvesting method by generations

Most fishing families lost their houses, boats, equipment during the 3/11 tsunami.  Though many fishermen were looking forward to the abalone season, they lacked the funds to replace the equipment.  As the 2012 season approached, Peace Winds America decided to provide subsidies to the fishermen so they could purchase the special rods, waterglasses, and rent boats.  With the subsidies, many fishermen custom-made their rods and hooks.

Abalone Harvest Begins Again in 2012

In late November, 2012, the fishing cooperative announced the first harvesting date. Harvesting can only happen when the fishing cooperatives determine the weather and sea conditions are perfect.  Then they make an announcement one day in advance, allowing the harvest.  This season there were only three harvesting days.

The Minamisanriku fishing families were very excited to go back to the sea.  You could sense the entire city was thrilled to see the harvest as the fishermen offloaded their prized abalone.

Peace Winds support enabled us to help Abalone fishermen to help purchase equipment!

“Once I was at a sea and caught the first abalone, I felt so great and happy to finally be able to harvest again.  It was a little different scenery this year with much fewer boats and they are mostly new boats and new equipment” said Mr. Takahashi, a fishermen from Shizugawa district.  “But the subsidy program from Peace Winds eased our family financial burden for the equipment purchase and I am grateful for the opportunity to harvest again. “

Box full of Abalone
Box full of Abalone
Fresh harvested Abalone!
Fresh harvested Abalone!
Sorting Abalone by sizes
Sorting Abalone by sizes
Happy Harvesting!
Happy Harvesting!
Happy to return to the sea!
Happy to return to the sea!

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Organization Information

Peace Winds America

Location: Seattle, WA - USA
Website: http:/​/​​
Project Leader:
Jon Ehrenfeld
Seattle, WA United States

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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