Chasing the "disappeared" squid April 5, 15:37

"I can't get squid. This won't be a business," said a fisherman in Ishikawa Prefecture.

Noto Town, Ishikawa Prefecture, which boasts one of the largest landings of Japanese flying squids in Japan, is a specialty of Japanese flying squids, such as the opening of "Squid Station" instead of "Roadside Station".

However, in recent years, serious poor fishing has continued.

Where on earth did the flying squid go?

I decided to look it up.

(Kanazawa Broadcasting Station Reporter Daizen Tanaka International Department Reporter Ayano Shirai Takahide Nagasago China General Bureau Reporter Sotaro Watanabe)

Did the squid "disappear"?

Ogi Port, Noto Town, one of Japan's leading fishing bases for Japanese flying squids.

Last May, three medium-sized squid fishing boats based in this port departed.

However, the first target of these ships was the flying squid, not the flying squid that was used every year.

The reason is the serious non-fishing of Japanese flying squids in the Sea of ​​Japan.

Ogi Port boasted a landing volume of 20,000 to 30,000 tons every season until 2002, but it has dropped sharply in recent years.

The year before last (2019) was a record low of 1568 tons, and last year (2020) was only 2232 tons.

For this reason, two of the 13 vessels belonging to the Ishikawa Prefectural Fisheries Cooperative, which operated mainly off the Noto Peninsula, were closed.

Seven of the remaining 11 vessels have had a major impact on local fishermen, including applying for a loan system that Ishikawa Prefecture began operating in April last year.

"If the number of boats decreases any more, the union will not be able to do it," said

one fisherman, who expressed a strong sense of crisis.

Why did the squid drop sharply?

Why can't I get squid?

Continue to talk to local fishermen.

"I think the cause is overfishing of foreign fishing boats."

What exactly does that mean?

Off the coast of Noto Peninsula, where Ogi Port is located, there is one of the best fishing grounds for Japanese flying squids in the Sea of ​​Japan called "Yamatotai".

Squid fishing boats gather here from various places such as Ishikawa Prefecture and Hokkaido.

The "Yamatotai" is located in Japan's exclusive economic zone, but foreign fishing boats have come here to illegally take Japanese flying squids.

In fact, former Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Eto also said at the Diet in March last year that "Illegal operations in the surrounding countries around" Yamatotai "and in the waters around Japan are hindering the fishing of Japanese fishing boats (a sharp decrease in landings). It has a great influence on me. "

Where are the foreign fishing boats from?

And the incident

So where does the foreign fishing boat come from?

According to local fishermen and the Fisheries Agency, most of them are believed to have come from North Korea until around 2019.

Even in the photo taken at "Yamatotai", you can see that something like the flag of North Korea is on the fishing boat.

In addition, the Fisheries Agency has announced that a total of 4007 evacuation warnings have been issued to North Korean fishing vessels at Yamatotai (2019).

However, since last year (2020), something has changed ...

According to local fishermen, the number of fishing boats believed to be from North Korea has dropped sharply, and the number of fishing boats believed to be from China has increased sharply.

In fact, the Fisheries Agency announced last year (2020) that a total of 4393 vessels were warned to move out to Chinese fishing vessels at Yamatotai.

This was more than 3.9 times higher than the previous year.

On the other hand, there is only one North Korean fishing boat.

A total of 107 vessels, which the Japan Coast Guard warned of moving out last year (2020), were all Chinese fishing vessels.

What's in North Korea?

What on earth is happening?

When I asked a person familiar with the domestic situation in North Korea, he revealed a surprising reason.

"It seems that the new coronavirus is affecting it. In North Korea, trade has not resumed due to the infection control of the new corona. Therefore, even if you go fishing for Japanese flying squid, it will not sell abroad and it will not be profitable. It seems that they will not go far to fish because they cannot handle it only for domestic use. "

Furthermore, when I looked up past articles of the North Korean national media, the Korean Central News Agency, I found an article like this in March last year.



control of access to the sea to prevent the influx of viruses."

Apparently, the new corona is affecting the sharp decline in North Korean fishing vessels.

A new threat?

Chinese fishing boat

On the other hand, fishing boats that are believed to be from China, which is rapidly increasing.

It poses a new “threat” for Japanese fishermen.

It's a fishing method.

This is because it seems that the Japanese flying squid is taken by a method called "two-tow pulling" in which two ships pull a large net in pairs.

With this method, resources are "uprooted", and if a Japanese fishing boat fishes in the same place, screws etc. may get caught in fishing gear and lead to an accident, so it is better to approach "Yamatotai". It's getting harder.

Where does this fishing boat come from in China?

While looking at the map, I suddenly had a question.

In the first place, China does not seem to be in contact with the Sea of ​​Japan.

Just in case, I asked the person in charge of the Fisheries Agency, but it was declared that "The Sea of ​​Japan has sea areas in Japan, South Korea, North Korea, and Russia, which surround it. There is no China."

Furthermore, experts say that fishing in the Sea of ​​Japan by Chinese fishing vessels could violate a UN Security Council resolution that stipulates sanctions on North Korea.

The mystery is only getting deeper.

I also went to China

So, this time, I started to cover in China.

During the interview, I got information that a fisherman in Shandong Province, where the fishery processing industry is active, is likely to be involved in Japanese flying squid fishing.

We headed to Weihai City, Shandong Province, on the Shandong Peninsula, about 550 kilometers southeast of Beijing, where NHK's General Administration of China is located, on the opposite bank of the Korean Peninsula.

There was Ishijima fishing port, which is considered to be one of the largest fishing ports in China.

While being overwhelmed by the fishing boats lined up in a narrow space, I searched for a fisherman who had fished in the Sea of ​​Japan and listened to the story from one end.

Overall, the following things have come to light.

・ Many fishing boats in Shandong and Tohoku regions fish in the Sea of ​​Japan.

・ Some fishermen fish for flying squids in the Sea of ​​Japan almost every year.

・ Because fishing in the Sea of ​​Japan is illegal, there is a risk of being caught by maritime security authorities in Japan and South Korea.

It seems that there are still fishermen here who are still fishing for squid in the Sea of ​​Japan.

And while I was interviewing, I was able to hear from a person who had actually fished Japanese flying squid in the Sea of ​​Japan off the coast of North Korea, although it was not near "Yamatotai".

<Interaction between reporters and Chinese fishermen>

Q: When have you been fishing these days?

A: Last year (2020).

Q: Is there a crackdown?

A It's okay if you don't fish.

Q: What happens if I fish?

A: You need a North Korean "permit" to fish off the coast of North Korea.

Q: Where can I get it?

A: I don't know.

Because the owner of the ship gets it.

Q: What if I don't have a permit?

A: If you don't have a permit, you will be caught by the North Korean authorities.

Several fishermen had similar stories about this North Korean "permit."

However, in this interview, I did not know the details such as what it was and where to get it.

So I asked Chinese officials about this situation.

<Interaction between reporters and Chinese officials>

Q: Is it illegal to fish in the Sea of ​​Japan, including off the coast of North Korea?

A: Now it is illegal to fish off the coast of North Korea.

Purchasing fishing rights from the North Korean side is also illegal and a personal act.

It is strictly forbidden to enter the waters of other countries and operate.

Q: Is China tolerating ships that buy fishing rights from the North Korean side?

A: I don't accept it.

If you make a discovery, you will definitely crack down.

After all, as Japanese experts point out, fishing in the Sea of ​​Japan is illegal in the opinion of the Chinese authorities.

Then why do you risk going to the Sea of ​​Japan even if you know it is "illegal"?

The reason was simple.

The fishermen at Ishijima Fishing Port said:



squid is the best, it's big and the price is high."

"When the sea of ​​Japan is finished fishing and you take a full two ships and sell it, it costs RMB 8 to RMB 10 million (RMB 8 million to RMB 10 million. It will be about 130 million yen to about 170 million yen) "* The conversion rate is as of April 1.

In other words, "because it's delicious, it makes money."

Therefore, it operates illegally in the Sea of ​​Japan, which is more than 1000 km away in a straight line.

I can see this reality.

The squid of the Sea of ​​Japan is delicious, but illegal

In response, the Japanese government pointed out at a meeting in December last year that Prime Minister Suga named "Yamatotai" and "the situation surrounding Japan's surrounding waters has become extremely severe."

In addition, Foreign Minister Motegi strongly requested that Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visit Japan last November to prevent recurrence of illegal operations and to give thorough guidance to fishermen.

The Fisheries Agency is taking measures to discharge water when foreign fishing boats fishing at "Yamatotai" do not respond to the move-out, but fishermen are complaining that "fishery management will not be possible as it is" and take further measures. I'm looking for.

Masanori Miyahara, a former president of the Fisheries Research and Education Agency, who is involved in joint research with an international NPO on illegal operations in China, points out as follows.

Masanori Miyahara

"I think that squid fishing in the Sea of ​​Japan is the so-called" Sannashi ", which does not have a ship name, ship number, ship certificate, or registered port, among Chinese fishing boats. It is necessary to exclude the squid taken by such a ship from the place of commerce. It will be on the agenda in the place of diplomacy, and the facts that reveal the actual situation such as research reports and images when the Japanese side cracked down will be revealed. By accumulating, it is important to create an environment in which the Chinese government will focus on regulations and crackdowns. "

An even more serious incident!


In this interview, we found that Japanese fishermen were seriously affected by overfishing, which can be said to be overfishing of foreign fishing vessels.

When I was worried that I wouldn't be able to eat Japanese flying squid as it is, I heard this story.

"In the city of squid, Hakodate, the number of Japanese flying squids has dropped sharply, and Russian flying squids are lined up in stores." Russian flying squids in Hokkaido!


What do you mean?

The interview will continue.

(The second feature article on squid will be released soon)

Kanazawa Bureau Reporter

Daizen Tanaka In

charge of the Yugun Kanazawa Municipal Administration and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries will


to cover the

squid problem.

International Department Reporter

Ayano Shirai

Joined in 2014

After working at the Gifu and Nagoya stations, he

was in charge of interviewing the Korean Peninsula

to which he currently belongs.

Takahide Nagasago


Reporter, International Affairs Department

Joined in 2007

After working at the Niigata Bureau and the General Bureau of China

, he

was in charge of interviewing the Korean Peninsula

to which he currently belongs.

Reporter of China General


Sotaro Watanabe

Joined in 2010

After working at Tokushima Bureau, Okinawa Bureau, International Department, and Political Department, my current

hobby is to reproduce Ghibli works by myself.