April 23, 2012
In China economic growth and rising standards of living have led to a rapid rise to the demand for sea food, including squid.
China’s fishing fleets are growing and that is good news for a small company in Northern Japan that specializes in fishing equipment.
NHK World’s Kozua Hamamoto has the story.
For these young Chinese the snack of choice when they go out for a karaoke session is dried squid.
“I like eating it every day”
There’s a growing taste for squid in China these days. People are eating ten times more of it than they did 30 years ago. To keep up with this demand the fishing industry needs the best equipment, automatic squid fishing machines produced by a small company in Japan.
Hakodate in Hokkaido is Japan’s third largest squid fishing port. It was here that the world’s first computer controlled squid fishing machine was developed twenty eight years ago.
Towadenkisaso is a small company but it makes 70% all the squid fishing machines in the world. What makes their machines so effective is the special movement of the drums that hoist up the fishing lines.
There is a long tradition of squid fishing in Hakodate and the fisher men there developed their own special techniques. They found that if the subtlety varied the speed at which the pulled the squid on their lines, this encouraged the squids to bite.
When Towadenki was developing its machine, it drew deeply on this local expertise. The machine was so effective it meant half as many fisher men were need to catch the same amount of squid.
However there are fewer large scale squid fishing boats in Japan these days. And demand has dropped for Towadenki’s equipment. So the company has had to look further a field for new markets.
“We have to find new markets for our products. We are hoping that China will become even more important to us in the future. “
Dalian is one of China’s major fishing ports. Recently a delegation traveled from Towadenki traveled to Dalian to visit an important customer.
The Liaoyu group is a government own company that is one of the largest seafood processors in China. The purpose of the visit was to find out if the company had plans to build any new ships and hopefully to win some orders.
The Liaoyu group is one of Towadenki’s most valuable clients. It does a lot of squid fishing of the coast of South America.
“Towa’s equipment is excellent, thanks to its squid fishing machines our company is the leader in squid fishing.”
“We work very closely with our clients, we’re looking forward to making the best equipment for them”
Towadenki is also coming up with ways to broaden its market. The company has begun processing squid as a way to increase demand for the product in China.
“If people don’t consume squid there will be no market for our equipment. We want to create greater demand for squid in China, and hopefully this will lead to orders for our products”
The equipment made by this small company is based on traditional fishing techniques developed in Northern Japan, now it is hoping that that expertise will help it to flourish in the enormous Chinese market.
Kozua Hamamoto NHK World Hakodate