New Offices for Fishing Cooperatives
July 2, 2011 – Kazumi Takahashi was in his office at the Shizugawa Fishing Cooperative when the 9.0 earthquake shook the small town of Minamisanriku. Thinking tsunami, Takahashi left for high ground after the quake subsided. As the water rushed through town, he watched in horror as waves swept away his workplace and its surroundings.
Peace Winds America, in collaboration with Peace Winds Japan, is building new offices for both Minanmisanriku’s fishing cooperatives, Shizugawa and Udatsu. These buildings will serve as command posts for the fishing industry through the town’s three to five year recovery plan. Peace Winds will fully equip the offices with the latest technologies and office supplies. A grateful Kazumi Takahashi is ready to get back to work.
Fishing cooperative offices in Minamisanriku are resource and management centers for the town’s most vital industry. Together, they serve a total of 600 members. Peace Winds has worked with both cooperatives since disaster struck to
help restore livelihoods and accelerate economic recovery in Minamisanriku.
Minamisanriku is a town of 20,000 residents that depends on the fishing industry for its local economy. Procurements of oysters, salmon, octopus, and seaweed sustain the livelihoods of fisherman, fish farmers, processors, distributors, and so on. The tsunami destroyed most of the town’s fleet and infrastructure, leaving many residents without jobs. Yet, according
to Shizugawa chairman Norio Sasaki, “80% of fishermen want to return to fishing.”
Peace Winds continues to help fishermen and others remove debris and rebuild vital infrastructure in Minamisanriku.
On July 1st several boats resumed fishing for the first time since March 11, just in time for the octopus season.
PWA visits the new (above) and former (below) sites of the Shizugawa Fishing Cooperative offices.