To all involved in the development of the Shiribetsu River watershed,
Requests from Japanese huchen
- Please always respect the natural ecosystem of the Shiribetsu River, with Japanese huchen at the top.
- Never threaten the survival or reproduction of Japanese huchen!
- Gather information about the biodiversity of this area.
- Please work with the OBIRAME Restoration Group to choose the best solution.
Since its establishment in 1996, the NGO has been working toward the goal of restoring the Shiribetsu River population of the endangered Japanese huchen we call OBIRAME. With the support of many foundations and companies, we have been able to restore the Japanese huchen breeding grounds in the Shiribetsu River basin, mainly through the cooperation of local volunteer residents and anglers, ecologists, river engineers, and other specialists, as well as related organizations such as local governments and river managers.
Since the late 2010s, the watershed has seen an upsurge in development as a resort area, leading to soaring land prices and a rapidly growing population, as well as the construction of many new stores, hotels, residences, factories, and road networks in both mountain and waterfront areas, large and small. Not only has the original beautiful landscape been drastically altered, but also the topsoil and sewage runoff from the construction work and the pollution of the river by domestic wastewater from the growing population have become a major risk to the local water environment. The momentum of development has not diminished beyond 2020, when Covid-19 pandemic occurred.
The main reason for the extinction of the Japanese huchen, which once abounded in the Shiribetsu River, was the destruction of its habitat due to rapid river development since the 1970s.
As a voice for the Itou living in the Shiribetsu River, the OBIRAME Restoration Group delivers the following four "Requests from Japanese huchen” to all individuals and companies/organizations involved in the development of the watershed.
Hokkaido Natural Environment Division presents “For the Protection of Japanese huchen, a Rare Fish Species”
In March 2009, the Hokkaido Natural Environment Division, Specified Species Group issued a leaflet titled "For the Protection of Japanese huchen, a Rare Fish Species," asking for cooperation in protecting Japanese huchen in the middle and upper reaches of upstream rivers and spawning grounds during the spawning season from March to May.
The seven municipalities in the Shiribetsu River basin that make up the Shiribetsu River Liaison Council have the Common Ordinance on River Environment Conservation. Article 17 of that ordinance stipulates that "special consideration shall be given to the protection of rare species, including the Japanese huchen, the largest freshwater fish in Japan.