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09/06/2012

A Project to help fishermen make their livings; the second report from Omotehama

I know it's sudden, but do you know what this device the fisherman holds in his hands is used for catching?

【A plastic pot and a weight are added to the one end of a rope.】
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It is not visible externally but it has a funnel shaped entrance at one end with a hole at the tip so that, if targets once wander into it through the hole, they can't get out of it. He says that it used to be made of bamboo. This is Dou, a trap to catch congers that are in season now.

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JEN is assisting fishermen in providing fishing equipments they are in need of to help fishermen live by fishing, finding out their needs through fishermen's cooperative they belong. Omotehama fishermen's cooperative requested these rolls of rope for conger fishing. The photo shows the fishing equipments being carried into the fishermen's cooperative. They were allocated to fishermen according to the level of their operation. Each fisherman puts ropes and pots together to make traps for their fishing back home.

【Fishermen can't help smiling when fishing equipments were allocated.】
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【There are 47 admitted conger fishermen in Omotehama; 21 of them actually fish for congers】
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This photo shows fishermen preparing for the day's fishing. Traps are arranged neatly on a fishing boat. They say a boat of this size in the photo--eight ton--can carry as many as 1,200 traps in all and it takes four to five persons to load. The total extension of the traps is as long as 20 kilometers.

From what I heard, they fish for congers nearly fifteen to seventeen times a month, though it depends on the weather.

【Fishermen who lost their boats board fellow fishermen's boats.】
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Mr. Osawa who is one of the admitted conger fishermen said a bit humorously "Even after the disaster, what we can harvest from the sea remain unchanged and I'm proud of what I had been doing and so I must resume it at first. I suffered from the disaster, but I have never thought about giving up fishing for that reason. By that argument, whenever I'm on the boat, I always "feel terrible", or "feel like quitting fishing", so I did even before the disaster. Even fishermen get seasick. We just endure it (laugh)."

Resuming what they had been doing before the disaster: It's not well known that Omotehama is one of the nationwide conger fishing places; Omotehama used to the largest congers fishing place in Japan, still the largest in eastern Japan. The conger fishing is at its peak from July to September and continues until around December. He said "Because my boat have survived the tsunami, I can continue my fishery and so I even think that it's an obligation for fishermen whose boats have survived like me to show other fishermen to follow that 'We aren't over yet!'"

【Harvested congers. Both catches and market price stay at the same level as in an average year.】
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【A photo taken with admitted conger fishermen 】
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It's true that the conger fishing has resumed but in the meantime however, they have a long way to rebuild houses and the wharf of their fishing port, regain boats and recover fisheries.
JEN will continue its activities with fishermen there.

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September 6, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |