Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Field trips for Integrated Coastal Management Project

Part 1 (OKAYAMA)
As a part of ICM (Integrated Coastal Management) project that OPRF have started this fiscal year, I went to Okayama, a prefecture by the Seto Inland Sea and the Shima-city, which is famous for pearl aquaculture. Both field trips were to study the perception of stakeholders (including fishers, NPO and government officials) about Integrated Coastal Management.
In Okayama, we met a few governmental officials of Okayama prefectural government, including Mr. Tanaka from the Fisheries department and Mr Otsuka from the department of port. The discussion was mainly about their recent change of the shoreline management Plan in 2008. The designing of the plan was ordered by the central government (and all prefecture in fact designed their own shoreline management plan) according to the Coast Act, which claims the need to protect the shoreline, to conserve the environment and to promote the better use of the coastal resource. We also talked about a marine wrench they set recently and the problem with shoreline waste.
Okayama’s shoreline management plan is unique in the way it involved the zoning of the coastal area. The plan divides the coastal area into 12 zones according to their environmental and socio-economical coherence. Also, this zoning includes both marine and land area as the plan considers the connection through the river to the coast and then the whole Seto inland Sea important. I found that what this shoreline management plan demonstrates in the zoning shares similar features with the concept of comprehensive coastal management stated in the Basic Ocean Plan of the ocean policy (art. 25).
While we were in Okayama, we also visited marine ranch at Shiroisi Islands which has helped the fish population increased but it has also attracted non-commercial (no-licensed) fishers who come to catch those fish that have been fed and cared for commercial purposes. However those local commercial fishers have no means to regulate them.
We also saw an interesting and typical case of management difficulty of Japanese coastal and river area. In one area we visited in Kurashiki-city in Okayama, there is a discharge of water coming out of small reservoir type of river through an artificial gate to the big river which directly connects to the sea. In terms of the management jurisdiction, the big river belongs to the state, the small reservoir belongs to the city and the gate belongs to the prefecture so this problem of pollution should really be dealt with by three management authorities integrately however, contradictively since it goes through three jurisdictions, and because of this complexity no one wants to take the initiative to solve the problem. The pollution is still going on and it has been damaging biological productivity of the big river, and it needs to be solved immediately.
It was a very meaningful trip to realize how much urgent it is to implement ICM for the health of Japanese coast.

Continues to the blog about Shima trip…