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Japan, January 31, 2023.
They have been freediving for more than 2,000 years in search of shellfish, sea cucumbers, algae and crustaceans. They are known as ama, a community of women with an infectious laugh.
Ama simply means woman of the sea and refers to these Japanese women who practice freediving. A job traditionally reserved for women, since it did not require them to go to sea in a boat like fishermen. Today, the average age of a mistress is over 65 years. These proud divers have quick wits and a keen sense of humor. According to a 2010 survey, the ama community consists of about 2,000 women (and some men) across Japan, most of whom work in Mie Prefecture. Everyday life of an ama Not everyone can become a diver loves. This small community has to abide by many specific rules of the area where they carry out their activities. For example, in the Mie area, women divers meet for group diving between 9:00 and 10:30 in the morning. An hour and a half of fishing is the maximum time allowed to preserve marine fauna for future generations. How deep do the ama descend? Beginners dive down to 4-5 meters, while more experienced divers go down to 10 meters. Some even reach a staggering 20 meters. Quite a feat for these women who practice this daily activity until they are over 80 years old. The tools of the ama To dive, the ama have all the necessary equipment: neoprene suits, goggles, fins. They also have in their wardrobe a traditional white outfit, sometimes decorated with symbols such as the star, which supposedly protects them during the dive. To help themselves, they do not use an oxygen bottle. Their tools are simple: a buoy, a net to collect the treasures found during their dive, and a long hook that allows them to collect molluscs or release sea shells.Ama and ecology Continuing the tradition of the ama is not only a cultural matter, but also a ecological initiative. Their activities are monitored to preserve marine life, so the ama participates (like many others in their region) in conserving Japan's natural heritage. By regularly scanning the seabed, these women have the ability to predict dangers, even being able to accurately report the various disturbances that occur in the oceans as a result of global warming or pollution. The change in color of the algae, the temperature of the water, the periods in which the molluscs appear, all this information is recorded and taken into account. It is very possible to meet ama divers on a trip to Japan, especially in Mie prefecture. . The Ama Hut restaurant, for example, offers a freshly caught seafood tasting that is cooked in front of the diner by an ama.
ContactContact name: Andrea LealContact description: Andrea LealContact telephone number: 91 575 71 21