Operating Unit Ishikawa/Kanazawa (OUIK) conducted its 6th Noto Satoumi Seminar in Wajima City on Feb 16, 2017. Bringing this seminar series to the schools for the first time, Ms. Chiharu Hayase was invited as guest speaker where shared her 30 years of experience working as an Ama-diver (free-diving women fishers) over a talk-show session with OUIK Researcher Ms. Evonne Yiu in front of an audience of 30 students at Monzen Junior High School.
Ms Hayase shared that ama-divers are trained from young by learning free-diving techniques from their family members and fellow ama-divers. Ama-divers work on a “buddy system”, whereby one will first search for the catch and point out to her partnering diver who will quickly follow to pick up the catch. This task sharing not only helps conserve their energies to enable them to make more dives, but they could also look out for danger for each other. The fishing season for shellfishes like abalone and horned turban shells last only for about 3 months from June to August, but some ama- divers also brave the cold winter seas to gather seaweeds. The women divers adhere to the rule of the short fishing periods and diving time allowed in the waters as they believe that this will keep the marine resources sustainable. The bountiful seafood caught by the ama-divers are then sold as Wajima specialties at the morning market in Wajima City, where the stalls are run also by women of Wajima. The students were fascinated by Ms. Hayase’ s stories of her encounters in the seas and also learnt that their local fisheries are not only run by male fishers, by also supported by many other women from all walks of life, contributing to the sustainable development of the satoumi in Wajima.