A brand new US$1.5 million fishing facility that is set to benefit around 1,000 homes and help rebuild fishing industries, was officially opened by the Qatari Ambassador to Japan, H.E. Yousef Bilal, at a launch ceremony held in Kesennuma City, Japan.
The facility, named ‘Al-Furdha’, will allow local fishermen to keep their catch alive until it is sent to market and is expected to provide a welcome boost to the region’s economy, which is still reeling from the devastation caused by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.
Prior to the 3/11 tragedy, fishing was the lifeblood of Kesennuma City, with around four out of five households in the region reliant on the industry. As such, the unveiling of the Al-Furdha facility represents a significant step towards rejuvenating not only surrounding economies but also in transforming industry-wide best practices.
The ceremony was attended by over 100 dignitaries and guests, including the Mayor of Kesennuma, government officials, fishing industry representatives, and fishermen from nearby towns and villages. Addressing this audience, H.E. Yousef Bilal spoke of his pride in the resilience shown, especially by the fishermen that have endured these testing times. He also presented a ceremonial key to facility managers.
“The Qatar Friendship Fund is committed to assisting in the reconstruction of the Tohoku area. Few among us can image the tragedy that has befallen this region, but we have in our hands the power to write a new chapter in its rich fishing heritage.”
“As such, the Qatar Friendship Fund is contributing to a brighter future for Tohoku, with timely, effective, and sustainable help. It is my hope that this facility will become a beacon of sustainability for all connected to the fishing industry. From fishermen that rely on healthy fish stocks for their income and livelihoods, right through to the restaurant owners and families putting food on their tables,” said H.E. Bilal.
Al-Furdha, which means ‘window to trade’, is the latest in a long list of initiatives being undertaken by the Qatar Friendship Fund in a bid to accelerate the rebuilding of key infrastructures and supply chains in the Tohoku region. As part of a combined US$100 million gift from Qatar to Japan, it is also one of two joint fishing industry projects with the Nippon International Cooperation for Community Development.
In addition to its role in transforming local and national fishing industries, the Al-Furdha facility will be used as an education platform for children and as a venue to holding various events in cooperation with the Kesennuma Slow Food Association.
Meanwhile, it is hoped that the Al-Furdha facility will emulate the success of previous initiatives, including the Maskar fish processing facility, which has already created 1,000 local jobs and provided valuable goods and services to over 7,500 people.
The Qatar Friendship Fund has directly benefitted more than 365,000 people.