Fisheries are no longer able to adapt to the rapid and heterogeneous climate changes of recent years because they have been operating under the assumption that the same level of natural variability will repeat itself.
By shifting to new approaches that consider changes in the marine environment and ecosystems not experienced in the past, the sustainability of the fisheries industry will increase.
Nature is always in flux, and fishermen have long provided the public with fisheries products while flexibly adapting to these changes. However, changes in the marine environment and ecosystem due to recent climate change are different from those of the past, and require different innovations and approaches. Under these circumstances, and based on the assumption that these changes will continue in the future, various measures have begun to be taken in every corner of Japan to realize sustainable use of marine resources and a stable supply of marine products, including changes in target species and fishing grounds, and the establishment of resource protection zones.
New food culture created by changes in target species
Fisheries resources such as yellowtail (Seriola quinqueradiata) and Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus niphonius), which have been caught and consumed mainly in western Japan, are now being caught in large amount in Aomori and Hokkaido, the most northern prefectures in Japan. At first, fishermen avoided catching these fish as much as possible, but as they became the majority of catches, they devised and acquired new ways of catching, handling on board, keeping good quality, and distribution channels as a new local resource. As a result, a new food culture is taking root in the region.
Establishment of clam resource protection zones based on extreme weather conditions such as heavy rainfall
In the Ariake Sea in Fukuoka Prefecture, about 180 fishermen operate a clam fishery and have been working on to proliferate the resource and use it sustainably. They have improved their fishing grounds and established juvenile shellfish sanctuaries. However, a series of torrential rains that began around 2015 caused low salinity in the fishing grounds and sediment deposition, resulting in mass mortality and a decline in resources. In response, starting in 2018, several dispersed fishing grounds were designated as protected areas so that at least one mother shellfish site could survive even when heavy rains occurred. In addition, they transfer juvenile clams from areas vulnerable to heavy rains to safer locations prior to the typhoon season to reduce the risk.
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