© 2011

Fisheries Management in Japan

Its institutional features and case studies


Part of the Fish & Fisheries Series book series (FIFI, volume 34)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Mitsutaku Makino
    Pages 1-19
  3. Mitsutaku Makino
    Pages 41-62
  4. Mitsutaku Makino
    Pages 63-82
  5. Mitsutaku Makino
    Pages 83-98
  6. Mitsutaku Makino
    Pages 115-130
  7. Mitsutaku Makino
    Pages 173-194
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 195-200

About this book


Japan is one of the world’s largest fish-eating countries with a long history, and has developed its own customs and values in terms of managing fisheries resources. The first half of this book introduces the history and institutional features of capture fisheries management in Japan, with 9 case studies from sub-arctic to tropical ecosystems, from sedentary to migratory species, and from small-scale coastal to offshore industrial fisheries. For example, coastal fisheries management is more community-based, and local people have the authority and take priority in the decision-making process. In contrast, offshore fisheries are more industrialized and commercially oriented, and the national government plays a major role in their management.  One of the main challenges in world fisheries is to implement the ecosystem approach, but there is no one-size-fits-all solution for its implementation.

The second half of this book considers the advantages and limitations of the Japanese fisheries management regime and discusses the necessary environmental policy measures to bridge the gaps between fisheries management and ecosystem-based management. As a case study, management measures in the Shiretoko World Natural Heritage area are analyzed. In closing, the Grand Plan of Japanese fisheries policy for the next 20 years and three future scenarios are presented.


Ecosystem Approach Fisheries Management Japan Resource Management

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Fisheries Science, Fisheries Research AgencyNational Research Institute ofYokohama, KanagawaJapan

Bibliographic information

Industry Sectors


"Japan has an intimate relationship with fish… among the world’s major consumers of seafood, the Japanese have a strong cultural connection to the sea, and operate both large-scale industrial fisheries on a global scale, and coastal fishery cooperatives nationwide. So Japan’s fisheries are important to understand and how they are managed is relevant to the rest of the world. Makino is likely the best placed person anywhere to tell the story. This book is a comprehensive treatment of Japan’s fisheries and their management, from the fascinating history of the fisheries to present-day case studies (sea cucumber to mackerel), to future directions mapped out for Japan’s fishery policy. A key element of the book is Makino’s insightful analysis of the connections between fisheries and ocean governance more broadly, notably through the ecosystem approach and marine protected areas. On that front, I find particularly inspiring the discussion of how fisheries have been so positively integrated into management of a World Natural Heritage site, through the ‘Shiretoko Approach’ in northern Japan. "
Anthony Charles
Saint Mary's University, Canada
Author, “Sustainable Fishery Systems” and Former President of International Institute for Fisheries Economics and Trade (IIFET)

 "Japan is best known for the extensive reach of its seafood economy and for its culture that respects all aspects of fisheries.  Outside observers know relatively little about how Japan manages its own fisheries – especially the diverse mix of traditional coastal fisheries and modern fisheries management innovations focussing on ecosystems scale.  Fisheries Management in Japan: Its Institutional Features and Case Studies by fisheries economist, Dr. Mitsutaku Makino’s is a must read; not only for its insights into Japanese fisheries management and fish culture but also for compelling fishery management ideas that can be employed in other areas.  This very accessible book is not your usual fisheries management volume that focuses on fisheries biology, stock assessments, fishing gear, total catches and legislation.  In Fisheries Management in Japan Dr. Makino seeks to explain the complex interplay between biology, ecology, society, economy, and management institutions in ways that both engage and inspire readers to really think about how and why fisheries management works and the significance of fisheries in broader ocean management.  His intelligent weaving of together of these multiple elements of Japanese fisheries management is brought fully into the forefront of fisheries management issues being addressed globally today and for tomorrow."
David Fluharty
School of Marine and Environmental Affairs
University of Washington, USA

"Dr. Mitsutaku Makino is the only one international fisheries researcher who can discuss about Japanese fisheries management system, as far as I know. While I was working in FAO and SEAFDEC, I had tried to promote an application of appropriate management system for the coastal (small scale) fisheries with a large number of people in tropical areas, knowing that Japanese coastal fisheries management system can be an ideal model if it is appropriately modified. “Fisheries Management in Japan: its institutional features and case studies” written by Dr. M. Makino is a book that I have been looking for to obtain scientific bases on alternate fisheries management using Japanese system. I believe that the book can also be useful for the people who have struggled with the western fisheries management system that cannot be applicable for coastal fisheries with a large number of people in tropical areas."
Yasuhisa Kato
Kagoshima University, Japan
Former Director of UN FAO and Special Advisor of SEAFDEC

"This first ever comprehensive book on Japanese Fisheries in English is indeed welcome. Despite the fact that several articles on Japanese fisheries give readers a glimpse of the nature of this industry, this book covers aspects of its history, management and the sensitive relationship between the customary practice and livelihoods in the context of the modern state and industrial fisheries. The author has succeeded to compile a work that is both readable and greatly informative. For us in India where the livelihoods of millions depend on the coastal artisanal fishery and where at the same time the fish resources are in jeopardy at this time of rapid development, there is much to learn from Japan. The examples that highlight the respect for the customary rights to the resources, resource management particularly the participation of people through the cooperative setup and the interaction of the research institutions with the fisher communities are particularly illuminating."
Nalini Nayak
International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF), India

 "During almost 8 years I have been studying Japanese coastal fisheries and aquaculture. I traveled all around Japan, from Shiretoko to Iriomote, passing by Onnagawa, Noto peninsula, Uwajima and Kami-Goto, I met with hundred of fishers, visited many fisheries cooperatives, harbors and villages. I also made many friends amongst the outstanding community of coastal fishers in Japan. This was between 1981 and 1990. At that time, I planned to write a book about Japanese coastal fisheries. My intention was to show to colleagues how rich, diverse, interesting, performant, original, was the Japanese coastal fisheries, how these fishers are able to evolve, to adapt and to develop by using most modern technologies in the respect of their tradition and of the nature. I was fascinating by the high level of organization, and by the special relationship between the fishers and the sea. Unfortunately, the subject was too vast, too complex, and I did not write this book... Now 20 years later, Dr. Makino did it! His book is an excellent overview of the Japanese fisheries. It goes from fundamental information, to case studies and the most updated considerations. It is setting the basis for further in-depth reflections on the role of coastal fisheries in the implementation of an ecosystem approach. It places the coastal fisheries as a key actor of this approach. This book provide an excellent and necessary link between the coastal fisheries world (with all its history and traditions) and the modern concepts of management of the sea, including biodiversity conservation, marine protected areas, and human development. It eventually addresses the sustainable development of the Japanese coastal areas. This is a very important effort. I hope it will be followed by many other young scientists, experts in fisheries biology, marine ecology, sociology and ethnology, political sciences and Law of the sea. The Japanese experience in coastal fisheries management is key for the sustainable development of fisheries at the global level. Although it might not be possible to copy it in other countries, due to the specificities of the Japanese culture and its approach to the nature, it is highly inspiring and all managers involved in fisheries management and nature conservation should read this book."
François Simard
Deputy Director, Senior Advisor for Fisheries
Global Marine and Polar Programme
IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) , Switzerland