> It's a battle but we can't raise prices because we won't be able to sell our product. So a lot of people use imported squid and other things to manage.
Flying squid is so important to this area, Takashi calls it his hometown's soul, but now here in the town of Hakodate, the generations old squid trade is being ravaged by the effects of climate change as waters around Japan warm up at the fastest rate on record. Takashi says that means there's now a squid shortage and prices are going up.
>> Reuters Mari Saito recently traveled to Hakodate to follow the story of how a necessity has become a delicacy.>> And here I am at the Hakodate docks where fishermen for decades have been leaving port to catch the Japanese flying squid. Now catches of this squid have plummeted in recent years because of climate change, and this is having devastating effects on businesses in this area.
>> Scientists say the flying squid are highly susceptible to changing water temperatures because of the huge distances they travel between where they mate and where they spawn eggs. And it's a story that's borne out down on the docks. Less than ten years ago, fishermen were hauling in over 200,000 tons of flying squid a year.
Now, that number has fallen by nearly 75%. The decline in squid stocks are also increasing the heat between Asia's fishing fleets. These photos from Japan's Coast Guard show Japanese ships using water cannon to scare away North Korean fishing boats they say are illegally trawling in Japanese waters. Japan's fisheries ministry says while it knows that flying squid numbers are in decline, the current official catch allowance is appropriate and doesn't need to be reduced.
But from the squid producers of Hokkaido to the sushi chefs of Tokyo, the possibility of the flying squid disappearing forever could soon become a reality.