As many other local business and trades, Ofunato’s oyster farming businesses suffered as a result of the 2011 tsunami. Ships and equipment were damaged, and oyster crops were almost completely destroyed.
A group of women, whose husbands were oyster and other seafood farmers, and who were once to be active in the oyster processing business themselves, founded the Ofunato Area Women’s Coalition (OAWC) as a means to generating income.
At first, the women produced bracelets made from old fishing nets, successfully selling these via the Internet. However as local oyster farming remained challenging by an extremely slow recovery, the Coalition decided to set up a seafood processing business, raising incomes both for their families, and local fishermen. They achieved this with the aid of the Sanriku Toretate Market (STM), a local business selling seafood online.