Impacts of the March 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami on Japanese MPAs

MPA News

As described to MPA News by Takaomi Kaneko and Mitsutaku Makino, both of Japan's Fisheries Research Agency:

"The majority of Japan's MPAs are 'managed resource protected areas' (IUCN category VI -www.iucn.org/about/work/programmes/pa/pa_products/wcpa_categories) maintained mainly by local Fisheries Cooperative Associations, which are groups of local fishers. FCAs are indispensable for planning, implementing, and monitoring MPAs - especially the autonomous MPAs that are implemented based on local initiatives. However, many facilities for fisheries were destroyed by the quake and tsunami, a lot of FCA members are dead or still missing, and survivors cannot go fishing because they lost their fishing vessels. This means the functions of FCAs as fish producers and as the local management authority for MPAs have been completely paralyzed.

Also, the quake has dramatically changed the geographic and biological conditions for the coastal ecosystem in this area [eastern Japan]. At the moment, we don't have enough scientific data to understand such changes. Also, fishing data are not available because the fisheries operations are not yet fully resumed. We are now starting to collect such data, and once the changes in biological and geographic conditions are clarified, we think MPAs in this area should be redesigned according to those changes."

For more information:

Takaomi Kaneko, Fisheries Research Agency, Tokyo, Japan. E-mail: takaomi [at] affrc.go.jp