In the era of big change



Apart but together: TBTI Japan Research network

… the vision of the TBTI Japan research network does not differ much from the framework of the stated vision of TBTI project. As such, small-scale fisheries in the world at a glance are divided into each continent and country where the history, culture, tradition, and governance system are different; however, they actually share many common issues. “Apart but together” may have been the most powerful message transmitted in the time of the COVID 19 pandemic, and this is probably an important indication for small-scale fisheries around the world. No matter how separated by physical distance, the power born as a result of cooperation, coordination, collaboration, and partnership is infinite.

We are pleased to announce that the TBTI Japan Research Network has successfully received its very first funding, “Tokai University Research & Education Grant.” The grant is to support the projects led by university researchers to activate research and education, and will significantly contribute to promoting the TBTI Japan Research network. The network, whose full name is “Too Big To Ignore (TBTI) Japan: An Important Network for Japanese Small-Scale Fisheries Research,” will ensure the widespread of the importance of the existence and roles of Japanese small-scale fisheries within Japan and overseas through transdisciplinary approaches.


TBTI Japan Research Network
About the network

As the launch of the new fishing boat, the ship of the TBTI Japan Research Network is now out into the ocean! Congratulations! Japan’s fisheries governance is based on the fishery rights and fisheries cooperative systems, which in turn are based on the existence of small-scale fisheries. Therefore, the presence of small-scale fisheries cannot be ignored in Japan’s fisheries policy. Within this context, the TBTI Japan Research Network brings together scientists, practitioners, community groups, organizations through transdisciplinary approaches and will ensure the widespread of the importance of the existence and roles of Japanese small-scale fisheries as well as addressing issues and concerns affecting Japanese small-scale fisheries.

The vision of the TBTI Japan Research Network includes: (1) Dispatch the information actively along with systematical research on the various functions, importance, and latent strength of Japanese small-scale fisheries. (2) Adopt transdisciplinary perspectives in Japanese small-scale fisheries research and governance. (3) Enable the improvement of gender equality and equity in Japan by the initiative of the Japanese small-scale fisheries. (4) Secure fishers’ income and the successors by establishing a research base to forge ahead with a wide range of new initiatives and concepts regarding small-scale fisheries. (5) Approach Japanese small-scale fisheries from the standpoint of Blue Justice and continue with theoretical discussions on Blue Justice and advance research to relay it to practice. (6) Help Japan to recognize the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries (SSF Guidelines) and promote its implementation fully and make a conscious effort on its application in Japan.

About the coordinators

Yinji Li is an associate professor at Tokai University in Shizuoka. Her research interests and expertise lie in fisheries and coastal issues among Northeast Asia, such as Japan, Mainland China, Taiwan, and South Korea. For many years, she has been researching these areas to understand the actual conditions and challenges on governance mechanisms, community institutions, market and branding systems, community-based tourism, etc., and interacting with relevant stakeholders. She is a member of the Too Big To Ignore (TBTI) project, Human Dimensions Working Group of Integrated Marine Biosphere Research (IMBeR) project, and coordinator of Japan country team of the Vulnerability to Viability Global Partnership(V2V) project.

Tamano Namikawa was born in Kanagawa Prefecture. After graduating from the Department of Construction, Faculty of Engineering, Yokohama National University, she engaged in port planning and coastal planning at a construction consulting company. After leaving the company, she received a Ph.D. in Marine Science from the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology. She started her current career in the Japanese Institute of Fisheries Infrastructure and Communities in 2011.

Sachiko Harada obtained her Ph.D. in marine science from Tokyo University of Marine Science Technology, Japan, in 2009. Dr. Harada is an associate professor at the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology. Her research interests include the use and management of local resources in fishing villages. Recently, she has also been working on a study of international trade in seafood.


In the Era of Big Change
Essays About Japanese Small-Scale Fisheries

To say that a book is timely does not generate the sense of novelty or curiosity as it once did – the claim is being made too frequently, with numerous books and articles published each day. Yet, there is something noteworthy about this book, not only because of the splendid content it offers, but also because it highlights the possibility of doing something together in challenging times. Similar to what the title of the book suggests about Japanese small-scale fisheries, the world is in the ‘era of big change,’ with rising concerns related to global warming, globalization and environmental sustainability. But as the book shows, many of the changes have origins and deep historical roots that need to be traced and examined in order to fully understand why things are what they are today, and to figure out what to do next…  While the book does not address the impacts of Covid-19 on Japanese small-scale fisheries, its timeliness is in how it reminds us that even in the era of big change, there are many small changes that happen along the way.


The new TBTI e-book is a real treat for everyone, whether you’re familiar or not with Japanese fisheries. The book editors, Yinji Li and Tamano Namikawa, invited 48 contributors to cover all aspects of small-scale fisheries in Japan without losing sights of the broader picture, and with an intention to situate Japanese small-scale fisheries in the global context. 

The book opens up with an overview of small-scale fisheries, followed by several chapters addressing various aspects of small-scale fisheries governance. Part 3 centers around the rich and lively portraits about small-scale fisheries and the fishing villages, giving a portrayal of small fishing towns, dotted around the Japanese coastline. The dynamics in the fisheries and the fishing communities are further illustrated in Part 4. Part 5 offers something very unique: after looking into the Japanese small-scale fisheries, it is now looking outward, making comparison with 13 countries in the region and across the oceans. Returning to the point that small-scale fisheries are not isolated from other sectors or other forces outside of their communities, Part 6 of the book looks at small-scale fisheries in the broader context, such as ocean warming and other ocean development like renewable energy. The last part captures the voices of fishers and fishers’ organizations, as well as of those working in different government agencies and research institutions, about the issues and concerns in small-scale fisheries.

The book also marks the official start of the “TBTI Japan Research Network, ” which brings together scientists, practitioners, community groups and organizations interested in small-scale fisheries.


Where can I find this book?

This book is available for free, in the e-book format. To download the book, CLICK HERE.


TBTI Global Book Series

In the Era of Big Change: Essays About Japanese Small-Scale Fisheries is a third book published under TBTI Global Book Series. This publication series that aims to highlight why we need to pay close attention to small-scale fisheries. The series will be of use to anyone interested in learning more about small-scale fisheries, especially about their important contribution to livelihoods, well-being, poverty alleviation and food security, as well as to those who are keen to help raise profile of small-scale fisheries in the policy realm.


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