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Japan’s Fishing Industry Destroyed

April 1, 2011

I heard a report last week that 400 miles of Japan’s eastern coastline was hit by the tsunami. Fishing boats and villages were destroyed.

NPR reports:The giant wave that hit northeastern Japan destroyed its coastal fishing industry. As NPRs John Ydstie reports, the survivors are trying to decide how to rebuild what washed away.

JOHN YDSTIE: The damage to fishing stretches along Japans coast from the northern island of Hokkaido to Ibaraki Prefecture just north of Tokyo. And its affects are being felt at Tokyos giant Tsukiji Fish Market.

Standing next to a shellfish stand, Mr. Kaoru, a wholesaler, says he doesnt expect to see some products from the north for years.

Mr. KAORU (Wholesaler): (Through Translator) It will take at least three years to recovery because these shellfish need 3 years to grow to this size.

YDSTIE: Shellfish beds in the north were destroyed along with aqua-culture and seafood processing plants, says Masayuki Komatsu. For years, Komatsu was the top international negotiator for Japans fisheries. His own hometown was swept away along with other fishing villages and boats on the northeast coast.

Professor MASAYUKI KOMATSU (Leadership and Negotiations Policy, Ocean and Marine Resource): I understand the entire fishing vessels, which serve for the coastal fishing, mostly was lost.

YDSTIE: Thats around 6,000 fishing boats in all. The five major fishing ports were destroyed, as well. Komatsu estimates about 10 percent of Japans entire fishery was lost. Now the question is how to rebuild. Its not clear if the survivors, whose livelihoods were wiped out, will want to start over.

Entire NPR transcript, click here

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