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Promotional brochure for visiting the bluefin tuna farm

Experiential learning and tourism in the observation of hatched bluefin tuna

Click on the flag for more information about Japan JAPAN
Tuesday, October 13, 2020, 18:00 (GMT + 9)

The Amakusa Fishing Cooperative, in Kumamoto Prefecture, is working on "watching bluefin tuna" farmed. It is rare in Japan to use tuna farming for tourism, and it also aims to lead to regional development. As infection with the new coronavirus continues, they are promoting it in schools as experiential learning that does not become "dense."
 
A farm located about 2 km off the coast of Shinwamachi, Amakusa city. Approximately 60 cages with a diameter of 50 meters are connected over a length of approximately 4 km. When the bait was cast, the farmed bluefin tuna splashed and the students came into contact with this valuable species. On the 5th of this month, the fishing cooperative strengthened the attraction as an off-campus studio this year, and local high school students became the "first" visitors.
 
Photo: courtesy Amakusa Takarajima Tourism Association
 
"After watching, I enjoyed a bowl of bluefin tuna at a nearby inn." A 13-year-old student in Shinwa City smiled, "It was a worthwhile experience. The tuna bowl is fresh and delicious too."
 
The maritime area around Shinwamachi, Amakusa City, faces the Yatsushiro Sea, which is an inland sea that is not easily affected by waves and is said to be a suitable environment for aquaculture. A fishing company in the city of Kumamoto started bluefin tuna aquaculture in 2008 and the fishing cooperative provided a farm. Natural fingerlings are grown and shipped for 3 to 5 years.
 
The tour of the farm has been carried out by the fishing cooperative for about 10 years, and so far about 200 people have participated. However, she said she was refraining from active public relations, saying "aquaculture technology can leak abroad."
 
Photo: courtesy Amakusa Takarajima Tourism Association
 
The city of Amakusa has dolphin watching, which is visited by about 70,000 people a year. There are no prominent tourist resources along the east coast where the farm is located, and there was a strong desire in the local community to "invite people to the area."
 
Therefore, local tourism associations and fishing cooperatives viewed the commercialization of tuna watching as experiential learning for schools. There were also expectations that it would broaden children's understanding of the aquaculture industry and lead to future employment.
 
Starting this year, we began advertising to the school through the Amakusa City Board of Education. Shinwa Deputy Principal Akira Yamashita said: "It has become a place for students to learn about the local industry. It is easy to take action against the crown because it is outdoors." Some schools have moved their field trip destinations to the prefecture due to the coronavirus and are planning to expand their public relations activities.
 
Photo: courtesy Amakusa Takarajima Tourism Association
 
In the future, the fishing cooperative will cooperate with the tourism association and invite general tourists to experience it by combining private accommodations. Etsuo Hama (73), deputy director of the Amakusa Fishing Cooperative, said: "I want to enliven the area where the population is declining and the crown is terrible."
 
According to the National Seawater Aquaculture Association (Kobe City), Japan accounts for about 60% of world tuna consumption. With the decline of wild bluefin tuna, international catching regulations are being enforced and aquaculture is becoming more important.
 
According to the Fisheries Agency summary, domestic shipments of farmed bluefin tuna are increasing year over year. In 2019, it was 19,588 tonnes, which was roughly double that of 2012 (9639 tonnes). Nagasaki shipped 7188 tons in 2019, followed by Kagoshima with 3362 tons. Oita (1,282 tons) is also in fifth place. According to the association, there are many marine areas near Kyushu that are suitable for aquaculture, such as the water temperature and calm sea surface.
 
In Shinkamigoto City, Nagasaki Prefecture, where aquaculture is popular, a fair using unfrozen "raw bluefin tuna" is held starting on the 10th.
 
Author: Isao Hamamura / Yomiuri Shimbun (the article has been translated from the original in Japanese)


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