Revitalize the Fishing Industry in Northeast Japan

by Peace Winds America
Sep 5, 2013

Update from Minamisanriku, Miyagi

Mr. Endo, Oyster Farmer in Minamisanriku
Mr. Endo, Oyster Farmer in Minamisanriku

Slow progress--long recovery

We’d like to thank you for your support to our effort to revitalize the fishing industry in tsunami affected area in Japan.  In the past two years, we have implemented various projects and helped over 1,000 people in Kesennuma and Minamisanriku (Miyagi Prefecture).  Projects included fishing co-operatives support (buildings, staff, computers and office equipment), maritime high school rehabilitation, grants to small businesses, fishing equipment subsidies to families, a wind breaker fence for the oyster processing, etc    All have really helped restart critical livelihoods within the area.   Thank You!

In early August, I met with the members of oyster processing group in Minamisanriku.  Earlier this spring, together with our sister organization Peace Winds Japan (PWJ), PWA had provided a windshield fence to improve the oyster processing facilities.   This fence protected the 23 women and oyster farmers from the freezing gusty winds while they processed the oysters.

When we met, they were also busy preparing oyster seeds for next year’s season.  They reported that last harvesting was very successful and hoped to have another good season this year.  The tsunami had cleaned the sea bottom and improved the water conditions, which helped produce high quality oysters - perhaps one of the few positive outcomes from the 3/11 disaster.   “If you are good at it, you can shell more than ten oysters in a minute,” said Fujiko Sugawara, one of the women who worked at the facility.  “If big oysters, I can fill up a 10kg bucket in no time.”  She looked proud.  “We are just happy to be able to do this work again.”  The other women nodded.  “Oyster processing is a family business.  We never did this in a team environment, but we have to work as a team for a while to get through this very tough time.  I can’t wait to go back to a more family-oriented work style, because this is been our method for many, many years.”  

They are hoping to able to work as they used to do perhaps by August 2014.  Until then, they will try to make the most out of this work situation.

The recovery of Tohoku has begun, yet slowly.  PWA will continue to monitor the recovery progress and provide timely support.   We hope that you will be able to help us. 

- Appeal to help our Fishing Shed program –

We are building fishing sheds for fishing families in Minamisanriku.  We have just identified two new districts where the families are in critical need of storage and work space.  It’s important for PWA to complete the construction before winter so more fishing families will have better working environment. We do need your help!  Please read our Fishing Shed program reports and help us reach more fishermen. Please visit and help us support more fishing families.  

Thank you.

Mari Poorman

Looking forward to the next Oyster season!
Looking forward to the next Oyster season!
PWA Mari and Oyster processing group
PWA Mari and Oyster processing group
Fun interview moment with Endo-san
Fun interview moment with Endo-san
Long way to a recovery
Long way to a recovery



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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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