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Fishermen’s groups merge as cost-cutting measure

Date Posted: 2007-07-25

Two large commercial fishermen’s groups have decided to merge, citing significant savings that will result from ending competition with each other.
Toshihiko Shimoji, Chairman of the Okinawa Prefecture Fishermen’s Association, and Shinko Kuniyoshi, Chairman of the Naha District Fishermen’s Association, inked the pact and confirmed the agreement Monday. The two organizations have independently operated separate fish markets at Tomari Wharf in Naha City, but will now capitalize on savings in both personnel and facility expenses. A new joint company, LLP Company, has been established to run the single-market operation.
Okinawa Prefecture Fishermen’s Association is providing 70% of the capital for the new company, while the Naha District Fishermen’s Association is providing the remaining funding. Both associations say they were dealing with a tough economic environment that often wasn’t profitable for them. They expect distribution costs to drop as the new operations are streamlined.
Consumers will benefit, too, as the price of fish is expected to stabilize. The Okinawa Prefecture Government Fisheries Section says the five largest fishermen’s associations on Okinawa had combined sales of ¥5.3 billion last year. About 80% of that was accomplished by the two groups now merging.

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