Projet Grand Maillet is named after the first new research vessel built for the International Coastal Research Center in Otsuchi since the disaster. The name of Otsuchi town means ‘big maillet’ in English and ‘grand maillet’ in French.

About Otsuchi Town

What happened on March 11, 2011?

The Northwest Pacific is one of the world’s major fishing grounds. The Tohoku region in the northeastern area of Japan’s main island of Honshu is one of the biggest seafood production areas in Japan. The main industry of the towns and villages on the Pacific coast is fishing. At 2:46 pm on March 11, 2011, an earthquake hit the Pacific coast of Tohoku. The subsequent tsunami seriously damaged fishing villages and towns in the coastal area.

What happened to Otsuchi town?

Otsuchi is a small town in Iwate Prefecture with population of 15,000. The fishing industry has always played an important role in the area. Most of the buildings and fishing-related facilities at the heart of the town were destroyed by the disaster. About 10 percent of the population was killed or remain listed as missing. One of the most important tasks today is to find a way to revive the town and rebuild its fishing facilities.

Horai Island   Otsuchi bay

Horai Island and Otsuchi Bay

What happened to the Research Center in Otsuchi?

The Center was originally established by the Ocean Research Institute of the University of Tokyo as the Otsuchi Marine Research Center in 1973, and reorganized into the International Coastal Research Center (ICRC) in 2003 for the purpose of conducting cooperative basic research on coastal marine science. Most of the facilities of the ICRC were destroyed by the tsunami that struck in March 2011. Our mission is to rebuild the ICRC and to make Otsuchi town the center of basic research on coastal marine science once again, so that it can continue to contribute to the restoration of the beautiful environment around the Tohoku coastal area.

ICRC befor the disaster   on March 11, 2011, disaster.

ICRC before the disaster, on March 11, 2011, and after the disaster.