Aquaculture farming started with a bamboo raft
Until around 1965, my older brother was engaged in rolling net fishing, and he used to catch Japanese anchovies to make dried anchovy. He had a processing plant and shipped dried anchovy for dashi (a Japanese soup stock). With the advent of chemical seasonings such as MSG, in those days, the price of dried anchovy started to fall.
Fortunately, there was a customer who bought a large quantity of anchovy. My brother wondered what the customer was going to use the anchovy for. He asked the customer, who told him that the customer was using it to feed farmed yellowtail.
So, my brother decided to start the cultivation of yellowtail. At first, he built a raft by arranging four thick-stemmed bamboo poles in parallel crosses and set a net in the parallel crosses to make it a fish preserve.
When I graduated from high school, my older brother asked me to help him to wind the net fishing. I helped him with that. I carried the fish that we caught to the market in Oita, and I also fed the fish in the aquaculture farm.
In 1980, the Japanese, the Oita prefectural and the Usuki municipal government, and the local fishermen’s cooperative developed a fishing ground near Mitsukojima. Many aquaculture farmers gathered there on the new fishing grounds. We also took part, towed the fish preserve from the conventional fishing ground by boat and started farming at the current position. As a result, our business focused on aquaculture.
I remember that our aquaculture farm raised 10,000 yellowtails and a fish preserve each for horse mackerel and sea bream in our early days.
After that, we gradually increased the scale. In 1971, we were able to construct building, warehousing, workshop, and refrigeration facilities.