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What's Obirame Restoration Group?

The Shirbetsu River is a beautiful river that runs through the southern part of Hokkaido. The river is considered the southernmost habitat for the endangered Ito. Many anglers have been challenged to catch the "big one" and some fish have really bent their rods. Unfortunately, due to the recent problems of environmental pollution, dam building and over fishing, the Obirame is on the edge of extinction. We, the Obirame Restoration Group (chairman Mr. Kusajima Seisaku) are trying to restore OBIRAME populations in collaboration with anglers, researchers and citizens.


OBIRAME Restoration 30 years Plan

Since the Obirame faces such a threat of extinction, we cannot rely on river restoration projects alone. We must also implement a conservation hatchery and reintroduction program to increase the chance for Obirame's survival. In 2001 the Obirame Restoration Group crafted the following plan with assistance from conservation biologists.

1st 10 years: We test artificial hatching techniques and release of native Ito fry into Shiribetsu River. artificial hatching
Next 10 years: We will release Obirame fry from our conservation hatchery into the model river. By monitoring the fish and their habitat, we will try to identify ideal methods for Obirame reintroduction.
Last 10 years: We try to re-introduce Obirame throughout the Shiribetsu River basin. Our ultimate goal is to remove the "extinction label" from the Ito.

Actions of OBIRAME Restoration Group

1. Shelter and protect several pairs of adult Obirame and attempt artificial hatching for reintroduction.

2. Research the environment of the Shiribetsu River and identify best methods for conservation and restoration of Obirame habitat.

3. Research the social and community conditions of the Shiribetsu River and make proposals for conservation of Obirame habitat.

4. Promote the importance of Ito conservation to stakeholders and community.

5. Educate students and young people about Ito conservation and make regular school trips around the Shiribetsu River.


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Rising Ito illustration on top bar: (c) Shigeru Tokumaru 2002
Contents and webdesign by Tsuyoshi Hirata except photos by Yoshifusa Suzuki
Special thanks to Mr. Brian Caouette from the Wild Salmon Center
(C) 1999-2009 OBIRAME Restoration Group. All rights reserved.