Large catch of mantis shrimp, Job creation project No.1: Making fish nets for mantis shrimp
While Miyagi prefecture boasts oyster culture nationwide, its sea off Higashihama and Omotehama in the Oshika Peninsula is also a fishing ground for mantis shrimp from spring to summer every year. It is mantis shrimp that is a well-known sushi item. But almost all of the fishing nets for mantis shrimp fishery have been swept away by the tsunami. What's more, after the disaster fishing nets have been in short supply and so it's difficult for fishermen there to purchase new ones. JEN therefore has started a job creation project that JEN asks the fishermen to work on making fishing nets with materials which JEN has provided for them and supplies completed fishing nets to them for use in fishing. After JEN buys the completed fishing nets from the fishermen, then they are provided for the fishermen equally through each branch office of Fisheries Cooperative Association.
In doing so, it is possible for both those who produce fishing nets and others who live in fishing to be able to earn their livings. Furthermore, experienced fishermen can not only pass on their technology to next generation but also promote intergenerational exchange by teaching how to make fishing nets to young fishermen.
While the fishermen ship mantis shrimps fresh to markets, we also assist them in providing skytanks which are critical for the fishermen to ship. Refer here("Hey! The skytanks just came!", 17/5/2012) for the story on the skytank assistance.
If it had been a usual year, the fishermen would have started fishing in mid April, but, as this year's seawater temperature stayed low, they started it in full swing from mid May. In the morning June 21, fishermen let us know saying "A good landing of mantis shrimps." and we at once got a chance to see catch landing.
The current market price of mantis shrimp has been two to three times higher than usual. On that day the fishermen had a good catch of mantis shrimp, I heard that each family landed fifty kilos of catch.
Although oyster culture is their main source of income, it takes years before they can ship their products to markets. They seemed to think that it is a great advantage to be able to "ship and gain income soon."
The husband and wife (see the photo above) said to us "Our more than one hundred bolts of net have been swept away completely, but thanks to the fishing net assistance we are able to go fishing." We also providing the fishing net assistance for mantis shrimp fishing for fishermen in Omotehama as well as Higashihama where we visited for coverage this time. Next time we will provide the second report from Omotehama, which will show fishermen actually fishing on their ship.