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Japan’s unique ‘cherry blossom’ shrimp fishing season has started

8 Comments
By George Lloyd, grape Japan

"Cherry blossom" shrimp is a rare seafood, landed only in Suruga Bay (east of the Izu peninsula) and in the waters off Taiwan. Sakura shrimp caught in Suruga Bay are prized for their size and sweetness, which local fishermen attribute to the snowmelt that runs into the bay from Mt Fuji every spring.

This year, the sakura shrimp fishing season began on the evening of April 14. That night, approximately two tons (1,910 kg) of sakura shrimp were landed at Yui, Japan's largest shrimp fishing port. The first auction was held in Yui early the following morning.

“We will strive to achieve both resource management and stable spring and autumn fishing,” said Junichi Miyahara, Chairman of the Yui Port Fisheries Cooperative at the auction. “Please enjoy the taste of fresh cherry blossom shrimp,” he told the crowd of buyers.

Shrimp aficionados were soon doing just that, flocking to fishmongers and restaurants in Shizuoka City to enjoy the exquisite taste of fresh sakura shrimp.

sakurashrimp_2.jpg
The first auction was held on the early morning of April 15. Photo: Kyodo News PR Wire

The sakura shrimp fishing season is scheduled to run until June 5. In order to balance resource management with the demands of the fishing industry, fishing was suspended between April 16 and April 22 and the authorities say they plan to suspend fishing on other days too. The final auction of the season is due to take place on the morning of June 6.

This month’s catches of sakura shrimp are the first to be landed since 2018. In an effort to preserve stocks, fishing was banned that year, but in mid-February, a resource survey confirmed the existence of abundant sakura shrimp in the northwest corner of the bay. This prompted the authorities to give the go-ahead for the resumption of fishing.

There are strict limits to how many shrimp can be caught in Suruga Bay, however. Even before sakura shrimp fishing was suspended in 2018, only 40 vessels were allowed to fish for the prized shrimp and their crews were permitted to cast their nets for just 10 minutes. This year, the rules have been relaxed somewhat: sixty vessels have been granted permission to fish and they can cast their nets for 20 minutes.

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© grape Japan

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

8 Comments
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The sakura shrimp fishing season is scheduled to run until June 5. In order to balance resource management with the demands of the fishing industry, fishing was suspended between April 16 and April 22 and the authorities say they plan to suspend fishing on other days too. The final auction of the season is due to take place on the morning of June 6.

This doesn't seem like a well managed resource. Stopping the fishing for a week will only make the fishers catch as much as they can during the rest of the season. Catch limits are the only way to effectively manage fish stocks.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Previously, "only 40 vessels were allowed to fish for the prized shrimp" but this year, that number has been increased to 60 vessels. And so they will have us believe that the resource is being "managed" and the fish stocks are being "preserved" by a fifty-per cent increase in the number of boats...? FIGURES don't lie but LIARS figure!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Man when I read BS stories like this...…

I am sorry by marine resource management & JAPAN DO NOT relate.

Japan pretty over exploits everything, 40boats, 10minute limits(don't make me laugh or rather cry!)

Japan simply doesn't conserve its marine resources very well if at all, this article is another example of what NOT to do!

> In an effort to preserve stocks, fishing was banned that year, but in mid-February, a resource survey confirmed the existence of abundant sakura shrimp in the northwest corner of the bay. This prompted the authorities to give the go-ahead for the resumption of fishing.

WTH, a few shrimp spotted in the CORNER of a bay & then the BIG GREEN light......wtf!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

We don't eat shell food when there's no "r" in the month. May-August.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why is that zichi, curious...

prefer shellfish during colder months perhaps....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@zichi

Nowadays marine products come from all over the world, seasonal products are not constrained by geographical limits any more and you meant to write ‘shellfish’ not shell food right?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think it applies to oysters mainly and probably predates back before refrigeration and also probably just an old wives tale these days or maybe it gives the shellfish time to recover. I guess being born next to the sea and collecting shell foods from the beach, something my mother would have said.

Yesterday on our local beach people were claming until the cops turned up.

"This warning, however, applies only to oysters and shellfish you might harvest on your own. Commercial oyster farms employ enough safeguards that oysters you buy at the supermarket or in restaurants usually stay safe year-round."

https://www.livescience.com/38551-eat-shellfish-only-in-r-months.html 

"you meant to write ‘shellfish’ not shell food right?"

well I use both terms but technically, creatures inside shells are not fish?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Love sakura ebi kariage. Lived in shizuoka city for years and my j-wife always made deep fried sakura ebi with veggies and loved it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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