Japanese seaweed harvest takes time, effort

MMINAMI-SANRIKU, Japan – At the peak of the wakame seaweed harvest in March and April, I visited fishermen in the town of Minami-Sanriku, Miyagi Prefecture.

The wakame from the Sanriku coastal area off Iwate and Miyagi prefectures has been one of the first elements of the local fisheries industry to recover from the Great East Japan Earthquake. It can be prepared in many forms, such as salt-preserved seaweed, or enzo wakame. This method requires a lot of time and effort by seaweed farmers after harvest.

At the end of March, I got on a fishing boat belonging to Choki Abe, a 59-year-old fisherman, at the Tomarihama fishing port in Minami-Sanriku at 5 a.m. We could finally see the rising sun when we reached a spot about five kilometers off the coast. Abe used hooks to lift ropes floating on the surface of the sea, and brown wakame measuring two meters in length and growing thickly came out of the water.

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Ashley Herriman

Ashley Herriman is the online editor for National Fisherman.

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