National Geographic : 1965 May
Dr. Fujinaga, "the shrimp are as much as three-fourths of an inch long. We sell some to nearby shrimp farms; the others we move to larger ponds for maturing. We follow the same plan at my new Aio farm, except that we transfer some shrimp to my other new farm on Himeshima for finishing." We went next to Aio on the island of Hon shu, after retracing our route across the nar rowest part of the Inland Sea to Tamano. Water from the Inland Sea pours through tide gates in a sea wall left when the Aio site was abandoned as a salt-making project. This gives adequate water exchange without the need for electric pumps. Says Dr. Fuji naga, "The difference in costs at the old and new locations will probably mean the differ ence between profit and loss." The Aio farm still had a raw newness about it. Fresh earth lay heaped up where women laborers helped men to build the ponds. Great sheets of water, about ten acres each, encir cled the little buildings. Two of the pools held shrimp ready for market. Workers in an out board motorboat were dragging a special net in one pond. Dr. Fujinaga explained that a jet of water, delivered under pressure from a pipe dragged over the bottom, dislodges the shrimp from sand in front of the trawl net. Chilly Bath Precedes Shipment The shrimp caught in the Aio pond were transferred to a chilling tank in a nearby building. Here the water bubbled and rolled as compressed air was forced through it. It was dark too, covered by a trap door. Most important, it was cold-about 55° F. This slows the metabolism so that the shrimp can be shipped to market alive. Herein lies the key to the whole Japanese farming operation. The shrimp are destined for restaurants in Tokyo and Osaka where the famous Japanese dish, tempura, is served. Tempura fanciers demand very fresh shrimp -and will pay high prices for them. With Dr. Fujinaga, I followed the shrimp from their chilly bath into the packing house. There I got my greatest surprise of the trip. "How are the shrimp shipped?" I asked. "In sawdust," said Dr. Fujinaga. I volun teered that it must be wet sawdust, of course. No, said Dr. Fujinaga, it was bone dry. It is not polite to contradict your host, es pecially in Japan. "What kind of sawdust do you use?" I asked. "Cedar." 654 Well, now I knew he was playing some Fourteen-hour-old shrimp eggs begin to hatch. Thirty-four hours later: the last nauplius stage. At 74 hours, protozoea grows a long tail. KODACHROMESBY JAMES PICKERELL© N.G .S . 10 TIMES LIFE-SIZE After six days, the mysis stages begin.