JR East to farm shrimp at station to create new local industry (駅でエビ養殖、新たな地場産業に)

A rendering of the small aquaculture system, at left, planned to be installed at JR Namie Station in Fukushima Prefecture.(JR浪江駅に設置される陸上養殖場のイメージ図)

 East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) plans to launch a test project to farm whiteleg shrimp at Namie Station in Fukushima Prefecture in the middle of March. The project team will assess whether it's feasible to start a new business in a small space at the unmanned station.


 The project team will attempt to raise 3,000 fry shrimp in a small aquaculture tank setup using renewable energy.
 The equipment will take up a narrow space about the size of a car. It will be installed next to the station building, making it easy to check the condition of the shrimp and the stability of the system.
 The initial period of the project is expected to be about three months, the amount of time needed for the shrimp to mature.
 The project will use a closed, recirculating aquaculture system that reuses water repeatedly. The use of renewable energy sources such as solar power can provide electricity self-sufficiency and keep costs down.


 The project team comprises three entities -- JR East's Mito Branch Office, JR East Start UP Co. and ARK Inc., a Tokyo-based company that developed and sells the land-based aquaculture system. They are also considering transporting the shrimp by train to sell them at stations along the JR Joban Line, such as Namie Station.


 The Joban Line was partially suspended in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake and the accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in 2011, but all lines resumed operation in March 2020.


 According to JR East, the aquaculture project will be the first of its kind on the railway company's property. An official of JR East's Mito Branch Office said the company aims to create a new local industry in the Hamadori coastal area, where the town of Namie is located, with Namie Station as its birthplace.
 "We would like to consider holding various events, working together with officials of fishing ports in the Hamadori area and local governments along the line," the official said.

( Translated by The Japan News )


 【 2022年2月10日付・福島民友新聞掲載 】