Restoration of the rich environment around Lake Biwa – the Paddy Field Fish Nursery Project


Due to effects from agricultural field maintenance after World War II, rice paddies surrounding Lake Biwa were badly impacted. In order to help restore Lake Biwa’s rich paddy field environment, in fiscal year 2001, Shiga Prefecture launched the “Paddy Field Fish Nursery Project”. After a trial period during which a collaborative effort verified the effects on reproduction, etc., in paddy fields, efforts on a full scale began in 2006. The Project set up fishways (fish ladders) in drainage canals, and now, together with local citizen groups, it is promoting a system to create an environment making it easier for fish to swim upstream. Rice harvested from paddies associated with the project, called “Paddy Field Fish Nursery Rice”, was registered as a trademark in the same year, and is being sold as a rice with high added-value. In order to extend these activities to be more sustainable and stable efforts, in May, 2011, launched the “Shiga Prefecture Paddy Field Fish Nursery Project Promotion Council”. At present, projects are progressing within the prefecture in 23 areas of 117 hectares, via partnerships between various groups.
A feature of this project is that many citizens have partnered together for environmental improvement, as well as working on regional revitalization. Those involved include farmers and residents around Lake Biwa, the ’Midori’ Network (which represents agricultural-use water, agricultural-use land & farm villages), etc. In order to link these efforts to regional revitalization, the “Seseragi-no-Sato / Yasu City Suwara Paddy Field Fish Nursery Council”, which has been participating in the “Paddy Field Fish Nursery Project” since the 2008 fiscal year, has introduced ideas such as an “owner system” for Fish Nursery rice, interaction with consumers of the Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe area and elsewhere through farming experiences and nature walks, etc. This has helped in the development of wide-ranging activities which make use of local characteristics. Such imaginative efforts have been highly acclaimed, resulting in the Project receiving the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Prize at the fiscal year 2011 All-Japan Rich Village Development Commendation Project.

Points about the partnership

The strong feelings held by rice farmers and fishermen concerning their desire to restore the once-beautiful environment of Lake Biwa and surrounding paddy fields are the driving force behind promotion of this project.


Based on efforts at ‘co-action’ (cooperative action) by diverse actors



Sustainable regional development


Shiga Prefecture Agricultural Policy/Marine Products Division – Farm Village Development Section – ‘Nigiwau’(Active) Farm Village Promotion Office


Seseragi-no-Sato / Yasu City Suwara Paddy Field Fish Nursery Council

Relevant website

Paddy Field Fish Nursery Project