September 9, 2014
The population of Japanese people engaged in marine fisheries dropped to a record low 181,253, which was an 18% decrease from five years ago, according to the Statistics of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries report by the farm ministry released last week.
The report illustrates the impact of the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and the nuclear crisis, which took a toll on the fishery industry in the Tohoku region.
Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures saw the population of their fishermen drop by 38% in five years to 14,074. The decline in Fukushima prefecture was the sharpest: There are only 409 people living off the business today, which is a 77% drop from five years ago.
The number of commercial fishing boats also dropped 17.5% to 153,034 from 185,465 five years earlier.
Some other reasons for the declining number of fishermen in Japan include new regulations, fewer fishery resources around the country and cheaper imports from overseas, according to the National Federation of Fisheries Co-operative Associations, known as Zengyoren.
The report showed the quickly aging population of those engaged in marine fishery.
According to the report, more than 25% of the fishermen in Japan are between 45 and 54 years old, followed by 22% who are 65 to 74 years old. The percentage of those who are 75 years old or older grew to 13% this year from 7% 10 years ago. Only 3% of fishermen in Japan are aged between 15 and 24 today.
Of the 89,485 privately managed fishery businesses in the country, only 14,811, or 17%, say they have someone who can be a successor in the trade, suggesting many sons and daughters of fishermen have moved to other occupations.
Source: Wall Street Journal Japan Real Time
September 9, 2014