"It is not that fishing productivity has changed but rather that there has been no pay back for what we catch. Thirty years ago, there was a time when dry seaweed cost 100 yen, but it is still sold at 100 yen. Only the cost of living has gone up, forcing us to use machines that cost hundreds of millions of yen. In the past, of the many things we did, the highest price we could get was only 100 yen. Anyhow, we did not have to dip into our savings much, so we could save more. But now, we have to use machines." "In an extreme sense, if they cannot find big clams then, they compromise by picking small clams. If they waited a little while longer, they could sell them at 3,000 yen, but the actual price is 1,000 yen because they feel like they have to sell them right a way. Because they gather clams that are worth 3,000 yen and then sell them for only 1,000 yen, there are no 2,000 yen clams left for the next time."
In this way, the deterioration of the fishing industry has caused the decrease of its volume, resulting in lower income from the fishing business and the lack of a next generation to take over the businesses. All these have created such disadvantages for the continuation of the fishing industry that many residents are gradually beginning to leave this type of business. Because of this, many residents have lost their connection to fishing along with their interest in BANZU Tideland that was closely related to the fishing industry. As a result, the existential value of BANZU Tideland has changed from a necessary existence to an unnecessary existence, changing the concepts of people toward BANZU Tideland. On the other hand, there are a few residents who are eager to take over the fishing industry in spite of such deterioration, most of them being involved in the clam business. These people have an intimate relationship with the fishing industry even now, and express a stronger interest in BANZU Tideland. BANZU Tideland, for them, is a necessary existence in their lives. Accordingly, it is obvious that the existential value of BANZU Tideland is regarded as a necessary factor of life.
"You cannot take clams from places other than at full tide on the tideland. See, 'clam' in Japanese means 'shallow.' They are only found on a shallow surface. It's 'clam'. So, the tideland is our work place. After all, dry seaweed is too. We can make dry seaweed without having to split lines only on the tideland. In other words, we are making our living on the tideland. I cannot live if the tideland disappears. So, it's like protecting myself, in my case."
"The tideland is important. It is important for filtering water. But, it seems like we do not have a life style that goes with it."
"No, we do not need it. Just do the reclamation and get money from that. I bet the fishermen are also hoping that someone will do reclamation of the whole of Tokyo Bay."
"For a local community, there seems no benefit in keeping it. Even us! We would protect the tideland if we could make a living out of it, but there is no profit whatsoever."
Since the existential value of BANZU Tideland has changed in such a way, those residents who have given up or are willing to give up are hoping for any improvement that would revive their community life, such as the development of the surrounding area of the tideland, reclamation of the tideland, building projects, etc. From this fact, many residents are considering utilizing the tideland for practical life;, not for the purpose of livelihood, but using it as a development site hoping to utilize this place for people's lives in practical ways. This has resulted from the following: People used to be able to maintain a high living standard because the tideland and the natural environment around it were fertile generating high fish hauls. And for those people depending on it for their living, BANZU Tideland's existence was highly valuable in an economical sense. However, along with the change of the fishing environment, BANZU Tideland's existence was turned into one of low economical value leading to the degradation of the living standard of the residents. For this reason, they are hoping for a way to utilize the tideland that would revitalize the economical value to the community. From these facts, paradoxically it could be said that the existence of BANZU Tideland has provided economical benefits throughout the ages.
On the contrary, those residents who are currently still involved in the fishing industry still depend on BANZU Tideland for their living and highly evaluate BANZU Tideland; thus, they are opposed to the development or reclamation plans for BANZU Tideland. Based on the above information, the understandings of the residents toward BANZU Tideland are divided into two: progress of tideland development and preservation of the tideland. Such a difference in understanding seems to be rooted in whether their living relates to BANZU Tideland or not. And for both sides, one common denominator is the goal, "for their livelihood."
Relationship between the Citizens and the Tideland
Since 1970's when development surrounding BANZU Tideland started, the citizens have campaigned for the preservation of the tideland, for instance, by creating an environmental study program in school. Below is a list of characteristics of people who belong to civic organizations:
1. Citizens do not live around the tideland.
2. In the BANZU Tideland area, people are not involved in the fishing industry except for those who live around the tideland; in other words, their living is not associated with the tideland. From the above factors, it is clear that many citizens living far from BANZU Tideland are dependent on something other than the fishing industry for their living. Also, the citizens view the tideland from a perspective other than that for living. It could be concluded that the residents' perspective on the tideland is experiential and existential; whereas, the citizens, on the other hand, see the tideland from an intellectual perspective.
"For example, I pick up garbage, treat the participants to clam miso-soup and so on. 'Tideland Clean-up Strategy' has been an on-going activity up until now."
"I have been teaching children about the tideland in school for the last 17 years since Showa 53. So, the community is beginning to realize that the tideland is very important for the community."
Additionally, with the leadership of the civil organization, events for the "Tideland Clean-up Strategy" have been held and an appeal for the tideland within and outside of the community has been made, clean-up actions have been promoted and also tideland field trips have been incorporated into elementary school curricula, etc. Recently, the citizens have been making an effort to preserve the tideland for the next generation by an informational campaign about the significance of the tideland.
Relationship between the Residents and the Citizens
In this area, where most residents share a similar life style, association among the residents is often found through conversations on common topics relating to their livelihood such as fishing and weather, cooperative tasks such as net casting, bamboo bind weaving, dry seaweed net making and ethnical (rural) beliefs such as "Koyasu-Koh" and Net-setting (This is a religious festival to pray for great hauls and harvests Then, they hang objects (shrimp, octopus etc) at the city limits or village limits praying for a "Rich Harvest of Staple Grains"), and other topics related to their local customs.
"Even around here, when the subject 'tideland' comes up, for some reason, people create something like the 'Wild Bird Association.' We are not getting food to live out of the 'Wild Bird Association.' Still, the 'Wild Bird Association' opposes anything against it. Whatever it is, even if it is something to do with my own personal life, they are going to oppose if it does not generate any profit. That is fine for them. They can just spend the day watching birds. I wonder how they are making a living,"
"If you have a gathering around here, what you hear and talk about are only, how the seaweed drying is going, or whether the seaweed drying has been completed. Or, people ask, 'How is your seaweed?' 'Aren't there a lot of clams in that place?' So, when a new resident who lives on a salary moves here, he just can't get into the society because he has nothing in common to talk about."
When new residents attempt to start a new fishing business, many times, they end up leaving the area because getting a fishing license is made difficult for them, thus preventing them from sharing a similar life style to that of the residents, or having daily association with the residents. Yet, those who have turned their backs on the fishing work can still maintain and develop associations with the residents by participating in neighborhood relationships and various social gatherings, just because they are familiar with the life style. Consequently, new people who move into this area usually end up leaving if they do not make their living through fishing because they are unable to get into the rural culture.
Another aspect is that there is little association between the citizens and the residents whose lives solely depend on an affinity with aqua-nature. Especially, the difference in concepts of the tideland makes association unfeasible between the residents who are pro-development of the tideland and the citizens who aim at preserving the tideland.
As a result, the following items have become clear:
1. After the living environment was polluted because of developmental projects around BANZU Tideland, creatures that could not adapt to such an environment became extinct. This resulted in the creation of different daily associations between people creating diverse perspectives on the tideland.
2. The change of the fishing environment caused a decrease of income in the fishing industry for the residents. Since then, people seemed to have lost their consideration/interests in the tideland changing the existential value of the tideland to one that looks for an improvement in their living environment.
3. Although the concepts of the tideland between the residents and the citizens differ due to their different life styles, their goal in utilizing BANZU Tideland for the good of the community is the same. Yet, the residents request that it has economical value; whereas, the citizens request it has a more intellectual value.
Chiba prefecture. 1996. Chiba natural environmental preservation academic investigation report.
Ministry of the Environment, JAPAN. 1994. Ocean space living thing environmental investigation report -The 1st volume Tideland -.
R. Touhei, T. Fukushima and T. Iwase. 1998. OBITU river region natural environmental academic investigation report.