The importance of the buyers – saury professionals
The fishing industry of Miyagi is No. 2 in Japan, following Hokkaido. There are many famous fishing ports such as Ishinomaki and Kesennuma, and these ports provide us with many kinds of seafood.
On this occasion, we visited Onagawa fishing market. The specialty of Onagawa is, needless to say, saury, a seasonal delicacy of fall. Other fishing ports of Miyagi have different specialties; Kesennuma is famous for pole-and-line bonito, Ishinomaki offers a wide variety of fish caught using ground haul netting, and Shiogama has large landings of tuna, caught in the nearby sea. The fishing boats arrive at the ports, and the fish is sold to the buyers via the fish market. In every fishing port, there are buyers who specialize in each kind of fish.
”Onagawa buys at the highest price”, a fisherman told me. The buyers at Onagawa purchase at higher prices than other fishing ports. So most of the saury fishing boats head for Onagawa. Of course, the buyers at Onagawa are very strict connoisseurs of saury. Each fishing boat tries their best to land the freshest fish, so Onagawa has the best quality of saury. Onagawa ranks among the top 3 in saury landings in the nation.
Gradually adding facilities after the natural disaster
Onagawa used to be a very big fish market, with sales of 17 billion yen per year, but sales gradually declined as eating habits of the Japanese changed. Fish was not being consumed as much, and this had a serious effect on sales. On top of that the Great East Japan Earthquake happened, greatly impacting Onagawa.
At the time of the visit, the facilities were being re-built little by little. There was construction to build the biggest pier. In October 2012, a large storage facility was built with support from Qatar.
The most delicious way to eat saury fish
“We were able to reopen thanks to the support from all around the nation. We are ever so grateful. But, you know, the best support is having consumers enjoy our fish.” said Kato. So Nakata asked, ”what’s the most delicious way to eat saury?”. ”Sashimi”, he replied.
- Onagawa Fish Market
- 87 Miyagasaki aza Miyagasaki, Onagawa-cho, Oshika-gun, Miyagi