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Miyako fishermen, divers come to agreement on support fees

Date Posted: 2007-12-23

Fishermen don’t like divers messing in their waters, but divers contend their livelihood is made in the same ocean areas, leading to a years-long feud over who’s right. Now, the two sides have compromised, and agreed to work together.
The Miyako Jima Fishermen’s Association, Irabu Island Fishermen’s Association, Ikema Island Fishermen’s Association, the Miyakojima Diving Work Association and the Miyakojima Marine Business Resort Association have signed a pact that seems to have both sides satisfied. More than 40 diving companies will pay the fishermen’s associations support money, a fee of ¥500 per diver.
Most of the diving companies have been making the ¥500 payments for quite a while, but some had balked at making the payments. They didn’t like the informal agreement, saying “this is a nonsense agreement. Why should we pay the fishermen’s associations? It’s not fair to us.”
The fishermen have been asking the ¥500 fee as compensation for divers using the waters in which they make their livings. The new agreement formally decrees that the fees will be used only for exterminating poisonous crown of thorns starfish, and not go to the fishermen’s associations.
Dive companies say this is fair, as the money goes to protecting the natural environment and to promote the fishing industry.
Fishermen’s associations agree now that the diving companies are working with them to promote their industry while protecting the environment by getting rid of poisonous star fish. Both sides say they’re happy to share use of the oceans in southern Okinawa.

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