Boating activities in Lake Kasumigaura include not only those for yacht sailing and motor boating, but also for black bass fishing that has rapidly increased since the 1990s. This paper attempts to examine the developing process of pleasure boat storage facilities and boating activities around Lake Kasumigaura.
Motorboats were mainly used for crucian fishing, duck hunting and cherry blossom viewing in the Suigou area (lower swampy area on the southern lakeside) in the 1910s. When the creeks, which were used as moorings for most of the motorboats, were reclaimed in the process of the farmland development in the 1960s, boat storage facilities were promoted to be opened in this area. On the other hand, sailboats were introduced as an extension of row boats by the graduates of Tsuchiura Junior High School in 1927, and Kasumigaura Yacht Harbor (Keisei Marina) was subsequently built by a railway company in 1966 at Tsuchiura city. The users of these storage facilities consisted mainly of office workers as well as students from Tokyo.
However, eutrophication occurred owing to the development of agriculture, livestock industry, carp aquiculture and urbanization since the 1960s. Therefore, bathing places of Lake Kasumigaura were closed in 1975. In addition to eutrophication, the development of marinas around Tokyo Bay since the 1980s caused consequently the distribution area of storage facility users (including the Keisei Marina) shrink. Furthermore, catches of fish decreased due to over fishing, desalination and decrease of aquatic plants necessary for spawning grounds. Fishermen, therefore, had no other choice than giving up fishing.
With the expansion of black bass fishing, storage facilities for black bass fishing boats were opened in late the 1980s and were expanded due to the influx of users from Tokyo. These boat storage facilities consist of only boatyards, maintenance shops and boat ramps. The boat ramps were converted from former naval or industrial facilities. The formation of such simple storage facilities is the main reason that the storage fees are kept to a cheap level, thus the users were mainly consisted of company employees aged 20-30. Owing to the expansion of the social stratum of boat owners, storage facilities like car parking lots were opened inland. The users of the inland facilities transport their boats to ports with their cars. For boating activities concerned, boat fishing areas for black bass were formed in the nearshore area of the lake as fisheries declined.
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