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The Large Decline in Production of Meretorix lusoria in KUWANA and Corresponding Measures Taken by the Fishery Association
KUWANA Hamaguri (Meretorix lusoria), formerly famous for being the most productive in Japan because of the existence in Kuwana of vast shallows spread across the estuaries of three big rivers (the Kiso, Nagara and Ibi), is now on the brink of extinction, so that even people in KUWANA lament that they cannot eat "true" KUWANA Hamaguri. This article, based on my own research in AKASUKA, a fishery village specializing in Meretorix lusoria, tries to explain the reasons for and the actual circumstances of this decline in Meretorix lusoria, as well as the strategic countermeasures taken by the Fishery Association in KUWANA. This study shows the crises and contradictions existing in the industrial development of Japan, which were so rapidly realized at the expense of natural and traditional resources. The reasons for the reduction include many factors. First, practically "free" fishing, which has reduced the natural stock of Meretorix lusoria. Second, public pollution, which has chemically affected Meretorix lusoria and its environment. Third, reclamation of land from the sea for cultivation, dredging and deepening of the estuaries, and the sinking of the sea ground, all these caused a reduction in the vast shallows which had been spread across the estuaries of the three rivers and offered a natural medium for Meretorix lusoria. The most important among these was however the construction of low-lying paddy fields between 1966 and 1974 covering 444 ha. This project led to the near disappearance of the breeding environment for Meretorix lusoria. Besides, the reclaimed land, called KISOZAKI, has not been cultivated, having lost its agricultural land value. This big public project is an example of Japanese public enterprise undertaken sometimes with no clear vision about the nature of public enterprise. To boost production, the Fishery Association has taken measures to foster the breeding of clams through artificial fertilization and the establishment of immature clam beds. However, artificial fertilization technology...