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Costly oil prices puts fishermen in trouble

Date Posted: 2006-09-01

Oil prices are going up, and fish prices are going down.

That’s a deadly combination, and Okinawa fishermen say three years of losing money is enough.

They’re asking the government for fishing subsidies, but they’re not getting good answers.

Competition from foreign fishing companies is driving the price of fish down, and local fishermen say they cannot compete in the tuna market.

A liter of oil costs ¥65-70, double the ¥30-35 price paid only three years ago. For deep sea fishermen, that’s a killer, because a typical fishing voyage requires 30-40,000 liters of fuel. As that price goes up, the sales price for tuna has dropped from ¥600 to ¥480 for a kilogram of the popular fish.

Fishermen are trying to adapt to the changes, and are modifying their work patterns. Some fishing companies are switching to smaller boats, while others are applying for bank loans or subsidies to stay afloat.

The Prefecture Fisheries Section says “the damage caused by oil costs going high affects not only fishermen, but all businesses. We can’t give subsidies only to fishermen.”

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