Japanese salmon laws and salmon fishing license

Salmon fishing, just two words that sound too simple, but to do it is really difficult because the Japanese Salmon Law is not as simple as other countries, it’s even the most stringent in the world.

Therefore, salmon fishing license in Japan is sold at a sky-high price with very strict regulations. This article will provide you more information about salmon and salmon fishing licenses in Japan.

Japanese salmon

In Japan, names of Japanse types of salmons base on maturity level (The same type of fish but the name will be completely different depending on their weight, length, or age such as> 50cm,> 60cm,> 70cm. ..) or named by the fishing season. Salmon in Japan is generally called SA-KEN, but for the fishermen, they are called according to the fishing season.

Salmon in April – TOKISHIRAZU

This type of salmon does not follow the law of time because they return to the river when they are young, not during the spawning season, go against the life cycle of salmon, which means they are confused about the time. Japanese professional anglers often fish this type of salmon because they are very fragrant, delicious, oily, and nutritious because they do not have to spend much energy to create eggs. April salmon is so oily and soft that it can be cut with … chopsticks

Fall Salmon – AKIZAKE

Every spring (around the end of March to the beginning of May), the young salmon pull together from inland rivers and streams to the sea, where they wander around until the fall of 4 – 5 years later (the end of August to the middle of November)which is the time when they have enough eggs, they swim upside down and return to the old river to find a nest, fertilize and die shortly after, ending their life.


Life cycle of salmon:

1. Salmon eggs are incubated in a nest. 

2. Alevin fish

3. Young salmon 

4. Migrate to saltwater

5. Temporary residence in salt water (about 1 year old):

6. 3 ~ 4 years later – Repatriate

7. Female fish create nets

8. Females lay eggs. 

9. Males fertilize eggs

10. Male and female die.

The natural life and reproduction cycle of wild salmon is generally the same, but almost 100% of salmon in Japan are raised and hatched artificially in aquaculture farms and then released in the spring to reproduce.

Japanese laws on fishing salmon and fishing license

Salmon fishing law in Japan

In the distant past, stemming from the protection and development of salmon (the kind of fish that was very rare at that time), the Japanese government enacted a law that banned non-professional fishers catching salmon under any forms, except with the researching purpose.

 In addition, the Government gives the National Fisheries Association any right to decide in maintaining and developing Japanese salmon. They succeeded in breeding to help the salmon recover. Japanese Salmon was no longer at risk of extinction. This was also the time when more funding was needed to continue this breeding project, so the Japan Fisheries Association implemented a bold plan for the first time: The permit was granted to allow amateur fishermen to fish in the form of a research, so this license was entitled a License Research in small scale

Salmon fishing license in Japan

Because of the validity of this small-scale study, the salmon license in Japan is sold at a sky-high price (5000JPY / sheet for 1-day fishing or 8000JPY / sheet for 2-day fishing) with very strict regulations about:

* Location of fishing: Only allowed to fish in a certain river in a certain segment * Fishing time: Only allowed to fish from August 15 to November 15, on a given day.

* Number of fishermen: Maximum of 40 people / day / 1 river.

* Licensing process: Firstly, the fisherman must apply for a research license with two attached photos, stating his name, age, occupation, and specific requirements: when he wants to go for salmon fishing, which river … If you are a foreigner, you must submit a copy of your passport and a Japanese visa. After that, the person going fishing must be checked the fishing record according to the following criteria:

– Have you ever violated the laws of Japanese fishing? That means whether you were fined for fishing prohibited fishes, caught in the wrong season, fishing by the method of killing fish in mass, poaching (fishing without buying a license) 

– Have you ever violated the Environmental Law? That is, littering indiscriminately, improperly disposing of garbage (Unclassified garbage, recyclable garbage) or cutting down trees, etc.

If your resume meets high-quality standards, your permit application will pass the first “round”. As explained before, the number of people allowed to fishing is only 40 people/day /river but the number of players applying is quite large (the rate is usually 40 people selected / about 200 applicants), so to have a fishing license, it depends on your luck.

When passing all the “rounds”, anglers will receive a small-scale research license with subsequent legal constraints:

– When fish are caught: Fishers must drop fish into containers of the Association of Salmon prepared in the fishing area so that the Associations staff come to measure the length, weight, classification of fish (Pink, cham or King salmon) for scientific work.

– The number of female fish allowed to fish is not limited, but must contact the Association at the number of phones available for staff to pick up eggs in time.

– The number of males is only allowed to fish 2 fish. When two male fish have been caught, all actions related to salmon fishing must be stopped.


Some experience in fishing salmon in Japan

The usual way of fishing with fake bait is a lot more complicated than using bait because it depends on:

– Location: Sea, or river, or brackish water (Sea mouth).

– Topography: Deep or shallow areas, many reefs, seaweed?

– Flow characteristics: Backward or downstream? Tight or not? Is there a vortex?

– Time: any season of the year, day or night …

– And what kind of salmon?

In Japan, it is even more troublesome to fish salmon because the fishing license is only sold during the salmon spawning season, when they usually do not eat prey and are not easily irritated to the point where they get caught by the bait and they eat it because they want to protect newly laid eggs, not starving. Even when provoked, they often use their tails to strike, not bite their mouth. In short, Japanese Salmon is quite small compared to American and Canadian salmon … but it is much harder to fish.

With a bit of knowledge about the Law of Salmon and some of the experience of catching salmon from the above, SAM AND MARY hopes that you will be able to get a fishing license in Japan for exciting salmon fishing experiences.

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