【 Reports 】Oyster business reconstruction project from the Great East Japan Earthquake


Mangoku’ura, Ishinomaki, Miyagi prefecture

Oyster seeds producing are in Miyagi prefecture 5/8/2011


This is Mr. Haruhiro Chiba (Right in the picture), an oyster seed producer in Mangoku'ura, Ishinomaki city.  Mainly, he produces thin oyster seeds and sells them to Yamada bay, Akasaki in Ofunato, Hirota bay in Rikuzentakata.

Here, Mangou’ura, Ishinomaki city, Miyagi prefecture is known as "a cradle of Miyagi oyster seeds."  Right after the disaster, people worried that oyster seeds in Miyagi were wiped out and they cannot produce Miyagi oyster seeds.  Miyagi's oyster seeds are sold to Hokkaido and Mie prefecture. 

Luckily, oyster seeds in Mangoku'ura can be produced like before.  Also, most of scallop shells in Mangoku’ura and Naruse (Higashi Matsushima) survived the tsunami.  In general, scallop shells are prepared to produce oyster seeds.  This time, shells prepared before the disaster survived through the tsunami, so there should be no problem this summer.  Miyagi's oyster seed will be sold across Japan.

However, he told me, "Before the disaster, Mangoku'ura produced 600,000 to 700,000 sets of oyster seeds, but we can produce 1/3 of that this year." 

Putting oyster seeds into scallop shells 5/26/2011


In Mangoku’ura, we are doing “Tane hasami.” (i.e., Putting oyster seeds into scallop shells)
This process is called and done differently area to area.  Oyster seeds are stuck inside scallop shells.  They untangle ropes and put scallion shells between ropes one by one.
In Mangoku’ura, oyster producers usually do this and temporarily hang shells in the bay in April.  In July, they bring and hang shells in the offing.  In September, they land oysters.

This year, this process began one month late.
To my surprise, however, they can sell oysters like before in this coming fall.
This is mostly because oyster seeds were protected from the tsunami.

Critical moment for oyster seeds in Miyagi prefecture 6/1/2011


From the right, President Mori of World Oyster Society, Mr. Suenaga, an oyster producer in Mangoku’ura, Mr. Ishimori, an oyster producer in Oshika peninsula, and I, Saito, a representative of this project.

As it appeared on Asahi Shinbun newspaper on the 31st, oyster seeds from Miyagi prefecture account for 81% of share in Japan.  If they cannot sell these oyster seeds, oyster producers across Japan will be negatively influenced.  As a result, oyster consumers may not be able to eat oysters like before.
Well, most likely, this will happen.
The problem is “how long” that will last.

Oyster seeds sold from Mangoku’ura and Higashi Matsushima this year were produced last summer, so there is little trouble selling them.  However, no producer can predict how many oyster seeds they can get this summer.
Given that they can produce oyster seeds like before, they can hang 30% to 40% of oyster seeds in the sea this summer.
If oyster seeds do not grow well, they can only produce 20% of oyster seeds, 10% next year, and probably 5% in the following year.

Growing mother shellfish is necessary to produce oyster seeds, but it will take two years to grow them.
In short, it is most likely that not enough oyster seeds will be produced now that mother shellfish were swept away by the tsunami.
My only hope depends on how many wild oysters can produce oyster seeds.

In fact, part of Oshika peninsula is a major oyster seeds producing area.  Oshika’s oyster seeds play a crucial role for oyster production in Mangoku’ura and Higashi Matsushima.

Therefore, to contribute to mother shellfish production leads to reconstruction of oyster seeds, Sanriku oyster aquaculture, and oyster aquaculture across Japan.

Supporting materials for suppression racks 6/8/2011


In Mangoku'ura, I decided to purchase approximately 500 bamboos to Mr.Kondo, an oyster producer, from this project.  I was also interviewed by TV station regarding oyster seeds the project is supporting.

Timbers, such as sawtooth oaks, are better than bamboos to make suppression, but we could not buy it from anywhere due to material scarcity.
They need to set up the suppression racks as soon as possible before oysters’ incubation.  If they could not make them in time, they cannot breed seeds this year.
All of suppression racks were destroyed, so they have to make them from the scratch.  That is the reason that we have to collect materials now!


The most preferred timber is sawtooth oak.
Also, cherry wood and oak are good.  In contrast, Japanese cedar do not work. 
The preferred length is 5m (approx 16'), the thickness at the edge is 7cm (approx. 2") in diameter, and the part near root is thicker than that.

If you know any timber manufacturers, please contact us.

Due to the scarcity of materials for suppression racks 6/17/2011


In the picture, I am having a meeting about suppression racks made of pipes, hoping to compensate for the scarcity of materials.
We were trying to find a way to use single-pipes that are used in construction site to make suppression racks. 
The picture below is the scaffold they experimentally set up. 


They are going to add one more single pipe in the middle, and put the scaffold in order.  At the end, they were going to perpendicularly put eight single pipes on top.  Mr. Uchimi thinks that that idea of Mr. Suenaga would work. 

However, in Mangoku’ura, many people are ordering bamboos, so they think that there is no man power to set up pipes.  They said that they cannot fully produce oysters this year because oyster seeds may not ripe enough and scallion shells are scarce.
Materials are scarce, human power is scarce, and mother shellfish from Oshika peninsula is scarce.    

I truly admire Mr. Uchimi and Mr. Suenaga who still hold their heads high and try alternative ways in this adverse situation.