Japan's Tohoku farmers, fishermen face uphill road to recovery

Japan's Tohoku farmers, fishermen face uphill road to recovery

This is the third instalment of a series.

At 7 a.m. in the fish market in Otsuchi, Iwate Prefecture, fewer than 10 brokers could be seen waiting for the start of the day's trade. The opening buzzer was heard, but they all left as no fish had been landed.

Devastated by the tsunami that followed the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, the town suffered serious damage to its main industry - the fisheries business.

The Otsuchi fishing port was also severely damaged, with the ground level of its wharf having sunk due to the disaster. Repair work at the port was completed last autumn, and fishermen who lost their boats were given new ones.

However, fish catches at the market have yet to see a recovery. The number of fishermen operating in the area declined, in part because some of them lost their lives in the disaster.

But the main reason is that many fishermen who returned to the industry after the disaster now take their catch to larger ports.

"As there're only a few brokers in Otsuchi, bid prices don't rise in auctions," said a 52-year-old local fisherman. He drives for an hour to take his catch to Miyako Port in Miyako, Iwate Prefecture.

As of the end of February, the total volume of catch traded in the Otsuchi fish market in fiscal 2014 was 1,575 tons - equivalent to 40 per cent of the volume from fiscal 2010.

More about

Purchase this article for republication.

BRANDINSIDER

SPONSORED

Most Read

Your daily good stuff - AsiaOne stories delivered straight to your inbox
By signing up, you agree to our Privacy policy and Terms and Conditions.