chapter  X
4 Pages


The control of these resources has undergone important changes since the Meiji Restoration. During the Tokugawa period, and even in the Meiji era, the main merchants had a profound influence on the lives of the fishermen, They could, through their influence on the village administration, allocate the fishing rights, and they could to some extent give permission to establish new net-groups. In this way they extended control of the aquatic niches. The merchants further facilitated the capital for the big nets which were required in order to exploit some of the niches such as the sardine. Because this species was also used to pay the village taxes, it became important to get all the fishermen to participate, and both physical and social mobility were restricted. The desire of the authorities to have a ready supply of kako for corvee labour, further strengthened this immobility. The sardine, which was the most important species in Shingū, was also an important merchandise as fertilizer for the fields, and this made the product attractive to the merchants who secured their access to this product by establishing patron-client relations with the fishermen.