Dr.Teruo Higa’s
Living A Dream


#81: Salmon going upstream in Kitaura (Kasumigaura)

Salmon going upstream in Kitaura (Kasumigaura)
, February 2, 2014
Hokota City, Ibaragi Prefecture.
Nishidai Niji no Tomo group
Representative:  Hatsue Ichimura (Vice president of the Association for Cleaning up Kasumigaura)

Rearing Fry and Releasing Salmon
This effort began by asking for the cooperation of schools and households in December, 2009. This project involves cultivating about 100 eyed eggs in a fish tank normally 60cm deep, raising them to fry 5-7cm in size, and then releasing them into rivers (Hokota River, Daiya River, Tomoe River) between February and March, every year since 2010. They will grow and come back to Japan about four years (3-5 years) later.
However, we had various questions and concerns. Can we do this in Hokota River? Can they go through Kitaura(Kasumigaura)?  What about the reverse floodgate? How about the impact on the ecosystem? Even though we faced such challenges, this project has already started and we had a hope that through it we might provide a special hope for children.
We decided to carry out with the feeling that, “Even if it may not work out, let’s try it!”
Purchased Date Place Fertilized egg Fry Released Date
December, 2009 Kido River fishery cooperatives, Fukushima Pref. 1,500 eggs   March, 2010
December, 2010 Kido River fishery cooperatives, Fukushima Pref. 3,000 eggs   March, 2011
March, 2011 Kido River fishery cooperative was swallowed up by the tsunami in the Great East Japan Earthquake
December, 2011 Kuji River fishery cooperatives,  Ibaragi Pref. 5,000 eggs   March, 2012
December, 2012 Kuji River fishery cooperatives, Ibaragi Pref. 5,000 eggs 5,000 fry March, 2013
October, 2013 Salmon caught by a set net in Kitaura
December, 2013 Kuji River fishery cooperatives, Ibaragi Pref. 5,000 eggs 5,000 fry Scheduled in March, 2014
Currently carried out in a total of 29 sites, including seven schools, three nursery schools, one social welfare facility, and by eighteen individuals, all of whom are looking forward to releasing fish between February and March.

Until the salmon run-up
The more we learn about salmon, the more we understand how this is the beginning of a magnificent salmon journey.
1st year Spring: Passed the Kitaura (Kasumigaura), swam down the Tone river and reached to the sea
Summer: Head to the north
Late Autumn: Sea of Okhotsk
Winter: Western North Atlantic
2nd year Spring: Go back and forth between the Bering Sea and the Gulf of Alaska.
3rd 〜5th year Summer: Followed the reverse course, to return to Japan.
Autumn: Caught by a set net
It is said that only 2-3 fish out of 100 fish will be able to return to Japan. Who would believe that the fry that were grown from that salmon roe and passed through the Kitaura(Kasumigaura) safely and went out to sea, would return to Hokota after a such magnificent journey. I might be the only one who believed it. But to tell the truth, I was also somewhat skeptical.
Last autumn, in the 4th year, I had a faint hope that maybe soon they would appear.
October 29, 2013
I received an unbelievable report: “Ms. Ichimura, they caught a salmon in the set net in Kitaura! They would like to give it to me, but since I’m now out of town I told them to give the salmon to somebody else.” I wanted to see it and take a picture of it!
November 2, 2013 “We caught another salmon this morning. We’re keeping it in a fish tank.” Thus, I finally could successfully take a picture of it.
November 3, 2013 They brought salmon and Ikura (fish eggs) in a styrofoam box with some ice to the Hokota Elementary School festival. We showed them to everyone. However, these 9 salmon were caught by the set net in Kitaurayasu Tsukajisaki. They did not swim upriver, so I was wondering if we can tell for sure that these salmon are the ones we released in the past.
At present, the end of November, 2013 Caught 22 salmon by set net in 5 places in Kitaura. Fresh Salmon.
*Also found one in the Daiya River, beside a  ship that had been moored. I didn’t catch it because I was on the way to work, but I’m sure it was a salmon. It must be female since it had a gentle looking face.
*Found two in the Tomoe River. Caught one of them. It was a male and was tasty.
One report said that the other fish swam away, and that since it was fatter than this one it was probably a female.
They were very precious salmon because they lived through the Eastern Japan Earthquake .
It’s amazing that they have returned. They were salmon that had started as fry released by the Kido River fishery cooperative that was destroyed by the tsunami. This was the final task the cooperative accomplished just before the tsunami.
We are happy that we never gave up and continued to work towards fulfilling the children’s dreams. Autumn this year is going to be busy. We are working hard with the hope that we will hear many reports of salmon swimming upstream in the Daiya River, Hokota River,
and Tomoe River.
This activity started with projects to clean rivers, beginning in Shiraishi, and involving the Kanto EM Outreach Association. They later came up with the idea of pursuing a new dream of releasing salmon fry into the rivers. I was asked by Ms. Ichimura, “Do you think that the salmon we raised from eggs and released as fry into the Hokota River will come back?” Because I knew of the purification activities going on in the Hokota River through long-term use of EM by Ms. Ichimura and her group, I answered her, “They will definitely come back.” My answer was based on the fact that after people applied EM to sewage treatment along the Nogawa River in Niigata Prefecture, a large amount of sweet fish (ayu) have swum upstream, and the number of salmon has increased tremendously. Also I heard many reports  such as that schools of salmon had appeared for the first time in 35 years after people used EM to continue to clean up the Senmaya River in Iwate Prefecture.
Releasing Salmon Fry Into the Nihonbashi River: The Third Time this Event was Held.
I compiled the following comments regarding the Nihonbashi River cleanup activities with EM, which started in 2005.
The Nihonbashi River cleanup project using EM has entered its ninth year.
Purification effects of using EM showed good results from the first year;
in the second year increased biological diversity was observed; and in the third year,
purification of the Kanda River, the Sumida River and the Tokyo Port advanced and we achieved steady results.
In the fourth year, large schools of sweet fish were found in rivers that feed into Tokyo Port, large Japanese dace and salmon were seen here and there, and more people than ever before were clamming in the tidal flats.  As I described in detail in DND, they obtained results similar to those in Mikawa Bay, which was revived by using EM.
The purification of the Nihonbashi River has varied because to the influx of sewage due to rainfall, but it is no longer a river in which sludge constantly accumulates, or emits a bad smell, or one that organisms find uninhabitable. It has reached the level where a diverse number of creatures form its ecosystem. As long as there is no inflow of contamination by heavy rain, it will be as clear and clean as fresh mountain streams.
Last year, people could swim for the first time in fifty years in the Edogawa district, and sweet fish appeared in unprecedented numbers in the Arakawa River, Tama River, and Edo River. In Tokyo Port, a large jungle of coral and seaweed appeared, including clams in Funabashi, and the Edo River fishing grounds have revived almost completely
These good results will make the triathlon in Tokyo possible, will promote the beach leisure industry and fisheries, and create a wonderful natural backyard for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.   
So far, over 400 tons of Activated EM has been applied in the river, and three years ago they also began releasing salmon fry. We can now expect schools of salmon to return
to the Nihonbashi River starting next year.
EM can decompose the putrefactive organic matter in contaminated water, and along with purifying the water changes this decomposed matter into food for plankton. Simultaneously, it breaks down various chemical substances and harmful materials, and renders them harmless.
If various contaminated water, including water in sewage treatment plants, can be treated  with EM and flow into Tokyo Bay, the Bay can become extremely clean, and the sea can be transformed into an exceptionally abundant body of water.
I hope that the parties concerned will work even more to put into practice the good results found in the Nihonbashi River
Picture caption: Releasing of fry in the Nihonbashi River(March 6, 2014)


In the fall of 2010 a school of salmon of 7-8 fish was confirmed downstream of the Nihonbashi River, and we were preparing to release fry in the Nihonbashi River in March 2011. The tsunami that occurred during the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11 swallowed up the spawning grounds that we had ordered the fry from, but one year later, in March 2012, we were finally able to release 5,000 fry. 25,000 fry were released in the end of February 2013, and 30,000 fry were released in March 6th of this year with the cooperation of the first and second graders of Tokiwa Elementary School , which is near the Nihonbashi River.

Those fry will gain strength in Tokyo Bay, since it has become more rich in food for them through the use of EM, then they will head to the Okhotsk Sea and on to the North Atlantic.
Lately, there are reports that quite a number of ayu-sized salmon have been caught in nets. We all are looking forward to seeing them again in a year or two.

Courtesy of Ecopure

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