New Oars Bring New Hope
Along the tsunami-ravaged coast of Minamisanriku, abalone and sea urchins are an important source of income for local fishermen. Unlike other sea crops, these bottom-dwelling creatures are neither cultivated nor caught with nets, but caught by hand and with spears. In order to harvest these high-value species, fishermen need to be able to approach without a motor, using oars.
However, all the oars in Minamisanriku were lost or destroyed in the devastating tsunami in 2011. Replacing this resource allows fishermen to restart earning from the bottom-dwelling species, and improve their livelihoods.
Mercy Corps was asked by our partner agency, Peace Winds Japan, to provide funds to create 50 oars. In the end, the combined efforts of both Mercy Corps and the International Rescue Committee provided 200 paddles to fishermen from the Shizukawa Fishing Cooperative. Also benefiting from this program were two local carpenters who gained additional income by finishing the woodwork and adding protective coating on the oars.
Thanks to ongoing support from donors like you, these resilient fishermen will be able to harvest abalone and sea urchins starting this November and continue on in the future!