Hokkaido has one of Japan’s most prominent fishing grounds for various species of shrimp, including deep-water shrimp, humpback shrimp, and Hokkai shrimp, among others.
Deep-water shrimp and humpback shrimp are particularly well suited for sashimi and tempura, and also popular in sushi. In addition, during the winter spawning season, shrimp with eggs inside are sold at market, with the roe a transparent blue color, making for a rare delicacy.
Hokkai shrimp are known to have a stronger flavor and taste better when boiled rather than raw. Generally this variety is eaten immediately after being boiled in salt water.
Nearly 70% of the deep-water shrimp caught off Hokkaido are from the Sea of Japan coast and in the waters off Rumoi. Most humpback shrimp are caught in the Sea of Japan. Hokkai shrimp are mainly caught in the Okhotsk Sea.
Haboro Town, Mashike Town, Yoichi Town, Furubira Town, Tomamae Town
Haboro Town, Mori Town, Rebun Town, Yakumo Town, Monbetsu City
Yubetsu Town, Nemuro City, Saroma Town, Kitami City, Bekkai Town
Deep-water shrimp account for the largest portion of Hokkaido’s overall shrimp catch at nearly 60% of the total. Nearly all deep-water shrimp and humpback shrimp are caught in shrimp cages.
Alaska pollock are added to these cages as bait and then they are sunk to the bottom of the sea. They are then picked up the next day with shrimp inside. Some fishing boats carry up to 2,000 cages.
On Bekkai Town’s Notsuke Bay, a fishing ground for Hokkai shrimp, fishermen use traditional trawl nets first used in the Meiji period. One of the seasonal sights of Notsuke Bay is the white sales of shrimp boats during the fishing season.
Deep-water shrimp and humpback shrimp are caught year round, but the season for Hokkai shrimp is restricted to early summer and autumn to protect the stock.