ADAPTATION MEASURE 021
The importance of the marine ecosystems that support marine resources and the impact of climate change on them were not recognized, and the long-term sustainability of the resources was overlooked.
Incorporating adaptation measures with an eye toward restoring marine ecosystems will allow for more sustainable resource use and add further value to coastal communities.
The use of marine resources, including fisheries, is an important economic activity supported by the marine ecosystem. With the escalation of climate change issues, the innovative uses of new marine resources have been drawing attention in recent years, including energy development for mitigation purposes such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Initiatives are also underway that incorporate an adaptation perspective to ensure the future recovery of marine ecosystems which have been negatively affected by climate change. Such ecosystem adaptation measures can not only achieve a sustainable marine environment, but also bring various benefits to coastal communities.
Sea urchin stockpiling on land to conserve seaweed forests
Seagrass beds, also known as the “cradle of the sea,” play an important role in maintaining the diversity of marine ecosystems and are also an essential part of the fishing industry. In recent years, they have also been attracting attention for their function as “blue carbon ecosystems” that absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. However, global warming and other factors have led to an overabundance of sea urchins, which have caused rocky shore scorch in shallow waters and reduced seaweed forests. In response, an aquaculture venture company is working to conserve seaweed forests through sea urchin farming. Their business model is to purchase unwanted sea urchins from fishermen and produce and sell them as a new local specialty using land-based aquaculture technology. This not only restores the seaweed forests, but also creates a new source of income for the fishermen and reduces greenhouse gas emissions through blue carbon as well.
Synergy-creating offshore wind power generation
Offshore wind power is in the spotlight as a new energy source for realizing a carbon-neutral society. In the past, the focus of attention has tended to be on the conflict structure with local coastal fisheries. In recent years, however, there has been a growing discussion about creating co-benefits through the sustainable use of the ocean’s ecosystem functions by effectively utilizing power generation facilities and the surrounding sea area in various ways. The following are some of the examples of co-benefits that have been discussed: installing fishing reefs in the vicinity of wind power generation facilities to increase marine resources; using anchors and electricity from wind power generation facilities to operate aquaculture; cultivating wakame seaweed and kelp to absorb CO2 (blue carbon); establishing sea fishing parks and diving spots to run tourist parks; and installing marine monitoring equipment to disclose information on ocean conditions in real time. Multifaceted utilization of space and facilities for climate change mitigation can create new resources, value, and employment, and can contribute to the revitalization of the local economy.
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