Regulations for Kombu Kelp Collection in Hokkaido, Japan

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"Kombu tangle is a kind of Laminariae kelp growing wild on the coastal area of northern Japan. It is indispensible for Japanese cuisine both for eating and using as soup stock. Kombu is particularly valued for its quality and comprises a major source of income for local fishermen. In most Hokkaido fishing communities, there are men called hatamochi, literally meaning 'flag holders,' who are responsible for regulating the fishermen's collecting behavior. They announce with white flags the time when the fishermen are allowed to collect kombu. They make the decision based on the observation of sea and weather conditions whether or not to allow the collection on a particular day. This hatamochi system was probably established in the late 19th century, when the monopoly of fishing was prohibited and communal regulations were required. This system, together with the law defining the local fishermen's collecting rights, has been contributing to the maintenance of a stable kombu resource base in Hokkaido."
fisheries, water resources, resource management, kelp, IASC