Stocking young sea urchin with hopes for a healthy harvest

The Konbumori Fisheries Cooperative in the Eastern Hokkaido town of Kushiro started spring stocking of young sea urchins on April 14. From April through May, the Cooperative plans to stock a total of 2.2 million sea urchins (approx. 60 million yen) over four days, which is on par with the normal amount. Amidst the continued threat of red tides yet again this year, fishermen are praying for the sea urchins to grow healthily so they can be harvested in about four years from now.

Starting at a little after 5:00 a.m. on April 14, two fishing boats stocked the area approximately three kilometers offshore. From the boats, the fishermen dropped in containers containing young sea urchins around three centimeters in diameter, and submerged divers spread the sea urchins around on the ocean floor by hand. They stocked 550,000 sea urchins on the first day.

The young sea urchins were born from adult urchins at Southern Hokkaido hatchery facilities, and have been growing from autumn of two years ago. The Konbumori Fisheries Cooperative Chairperson commented, “We are concerned about the red tide, but our only option is to simply do what we are able to do now for the youth who will take over sea urchin harvesting in the future.” The Cooperative conducts stocking two times per year, in the spring and in the autumn.

Fishermen packing young sea urchins into a container on the boat to drop down to the seafloor divers (5:50 a.m. April 14)

Location

Konbumori Fisheries Cooperative

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