Fishing experience program resumes in Minami Sanriku

American students listen to a fisherman talk about scallop farming

American students listen to a fisherman talk about scallop farming

A fishing experience program resumed in Minami Sanriku in July with 90 high school students from the U.S. taking part. Minami Sanriku, a coastal town in Miyagi Prefecture, was significantly damaged by the tsunami which struck in March last year, and the program had been suspended since. The American students were the first people to join the re-started program and they boarded fishing boats to inspect aquafarms of scallops, oysters and salmon. The students later enjoyed a barbecue of fresh seafood with locals from the town.

Around 1,000 elementary, junior high and high school students nationwide have joined the program each year since it began five years ago, and this was the first time students from overseas took part. This kind of program is quite rare within Japan, and the local tourism association and fisheries office worked together to re-start it and streamline the process. There are plans to re-start other elements of the program, which include lodging at the homes of fishermen and visits to local markets and shopping streets, so that people can enjoy Minami Sanriku fully and have an experience that can only be had locally.

Minami Sanriku is working on making use of its local resources and tourist attractions. Masataka Hoshi, of the Tokura Fisheries Office, said: “We hope many people come to Minami Sanriku and its waters, and see the progress our town is making.” Rebuilding the town’s base industry of fishing and restoring local tourism look set to speed up the revitalization of the wider community.


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