Speaking of the “Oma Tuna”, it is known as the king of tuna that everyone knows. It is said to be the best brand of tuna in the world. At the same time, the fishing environment is extremely harsh, but has this romance. Today, we will approach the fishing boat tour of “Oma Tuna” which finally is available for tourists as well.
The pole-and-line fishing that supports the Finest Tuna
Oma Tuna —
The brand is said to have become known to the general public when it was priced as 20.2 million yen when it was first displayed at the Tsukiji market in 2001. Since then, the Oma Tuna has been known as the king of tuna.
But, little is known about its harsh fishing environments.
The offshore of Oma port is narrow, and the tide situation constantly changes. Therefore, the finest tuna can be caught, but at the same time the methods are limited. Especially, using large scale gimmicks such as winding nets are impossible.
Therefore, when fishing the tuna, it uses the traditional method of pole-and-ling fishing, known as the ippon-zuri in Japanese. Just as it sounds like, it captures the tuna without using nets. Therefore, the body of the tuna remained undamaged, and we can deliver the tuna to the market without dropping its taste nor shape.
But at the same time the pole and line is a style that requires high technology and abilities. Once you’re out on the ocean, concentration and mental stability is essential, as you move around searching for tuna for several hours. And, once you discover the tuna you must apply high level fish movement knowledge and the skill to get around them quickly.
Even so, depending on the trend of the tuna there will be days in which you can’t catch even one of them. Hence regarding the high prices of the tuna, high skills and risks come with the fishing of it.
Oma Tuna fishing tour available for tourists
Though fishing is tough for fishermen, for tourists, it is spectacular that dozens of ships will gather up and it is a very attractive to be able to experience feeling the dynamic moment of capturing the tuna.
It was extremely difficult for outsiders to observe tuna fishing previously. In the first place, fishermen typically dislike amateurs to get into the fishing grounds and boats, because they may get in the way. This is a serious problem for them, because they make living money out of these fishing/
However, in Oma, for 2017 Autumn there have been tuna watching tours for tourists to better understand the attractiveness of Oma tuna. On this tour, you can ride on Mr. Izumi’s boat, who served as a fisherman for a long time.
He has helped with his parent’s fishing since elementary school, and by the time he was in junior high he had taken off by himself. At times when fish finder mechanics were not as developed as much as now, he read the routes of the fishes by looking at the shadows of tuna. You could say that he is a very skilled fisherman, who has caught 12 tunas in just one session at the most.
Today, tuna fishing is stable, but there were times that tuna came to a halt in Oma. During the winter times, he would go on expedition to Wakkanai to catch flounders or get on tuna fishing boats that will go further aboard to live.
Although the fishermen’s situations were quite disastrous during those times, he did not give up as a fisherman and continued to preserve the Oma tuna fishing.
It shows that he has deep love towards fishing, and he explains about the fishing of tuna and its unique features in a very friendly way to the tourists. You might have an image that fishermen are very strict and silent, but you will think twice after you get to know him.
Let’s go catch tuna: To the Fishermen’s Battlefield
When you bring the ship out, it takes about 20 to 30 minutes to go offshore. The ship will sway on the tide. The ship will lean to the point where you would probably become worried. Although you will be wearing lifejackets, it will be dangerous if you won’t hold on to the ship firmly.
We will arrive at the fishing ground where tuna fishing boats will gather. The fishing ground will be surrounded by seas as far as you can see. There will be dozens of ships, sometimes more than a hundred will astonish you.
After that, we will listen to a commentary on tuna fishing, and watch him. Boats will suddenly scatter if they find hints of tuna, while others will spread flocks of squid to become meals for the tuna. They will explain to you one by one so that you won’t lose track.
Then, as the fishermen catch the tuna, it is a customary to raise smoke from the ship. It is not certain whether you can witness the moment of them catching tuna, but if you’re lucky enough, you will be mesmerized. The tuna, you will see, will be over 100 kg.
Unique tuna dishes at Oma
After you enjoy tuna fishing, return to the harbor to taste some delicious tuna dishes. Asides rich tuna fatties, you can eat the skins and internal organs that are available only at Oma.
Tuna fishing at Oma reaches its peak around summer to autumn. Although its not quite a place you can go casually, if you go sightseeing in Aomori, or if you are in Hokkaido you can ride on a ferry from Hakodate, so why not experience the opportunity?