Minamisanriku Fishing Cooperatives

August 29, 2011 – Peace Winds America (PWA) and Peace Winds Japan (PWJ) are working with two fishing cooperatives in the small coastal town of Minamisanriku, Miyagi. The Shizugawa Fishing Cooperative and the Udatsu Fishing Cooperative support more than 600 members in Minamisanriku’s most vital industry.

Initially, Peace Winds provided fisherman with rubber boots, overalls, and other supplies for underwater debris removal. The tsunami destroyed about 85% of Minamisanriku’s fleet, scattering debris throughout its port and fishing terminals. For those boats that were not destroyed, Peace Winds supplied a local shipbuilding company with tools to repair damaged vessels.

The March 11 tsunami flattened the seaside offices of both fishing cooperatives. These offices are resource and management centers that are critical to Minamisanriku’s fishing industry. Peace Winds agreed to build temporary offices for both cooperatives. Their construction will finish in early September, and the offices will be fully outfitted with supplies, equipment, and technology.

Peace Winds is also working to restore seaweed farms through provision of ropes, buoys, and other supplies. Farming has gradually commenced, and full-scale cultivation is expected by the end of summer. Minamisanriku’s fish market reopened in July with help from Peace Winds. Now farmers, fishermen, and consumers have a place to gather, buy, and sell.

The fishing industry has long accounted for a large portion of the economy in Minamisanriku, and economic recovery relies on the town’s most traditional industry. Peace Winds will continue to work closely with Shizugawa Fishing Cooperative and Udatsu Fishing Cooperative to restore livelihoods and tradition in the small coastal town.

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