Monitoring oyster culture rafts and seagrass meadows in Nagatsura-ura Lagoon, Sanriku Coast, Japan before and after the 2011 tsunami by remote sensing: Their recoveries implying the sustainable development of coastal waters

Hiroki Murata, Motoyuki Hara, Chinatsu Yonezawa, Teruhisa Komatsu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background. Coastal ecosystems are blue infrastructures that support coastal resources and also aquaculture. Seagrass meadows, one of coastal ecosystems, provide substrates for epiphytic diatoms, which are food resources for cultured filter feeder organisms. Highly intensive coastal aquaculture degrades coastal environments to decrease seagrass meadows. Therefore, efficient aquaculture management and conservation of seagrass meadows are necessary for the sustainable development of coastal waters. In ria-type bays, non-feeding aquaculture of filter feeders such as oysters, scallops, and ascidians are actively practiced along the Sanriku Coast, Japan. Before the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, the over-deployment of oyster culture facilities polluted the bottom environment and formed an hypoxic bottom water layer due to the organic excrements from cultured oysters. The tsunami in 2011 devastated the aquaculture facilities and seagrass meadows along the Sanriku Coast. We mapped the oyster culture rafts and seagrass meadows in Nagatsura-ura Lagoon, Sanriku Coast before and after the tsunami and monitored those and environments after the tsunami by field surveys. Methods. We conducted field surveys and monitored the environmental parameters in Nagatsura-ura Lagoon every month since 2014. We used high-resolution satellite remote sensing images to map oyster culture rafts and seagrass meadows at irregular time intervals from 2006 to 2019 in order to assess their distribution. In 2019, we also used an unmanned aerial vehicle to analyze the spatial variability of the position and the number of ropes suspending oyster clumps beneath the rafts. Results. In 2013, the number and distribution of the oyster culture rafts had been completely restored to the pre-tsunami conditions. The mean area of culture raft increased after the tsunami, and ropes suspending oyster clumps attached to a raft in wider space. Experienced local fishermen also developed a method to attach less ropes to a raft, which was applied to half of the oyster culture rafts to improve oyster growth. The area of seagrass meadows has been expanding since 2013. Although the lagoon had experienced frequent oyster mass mortality events in summer before the tsunami, these events have not occurred since 2011. The 2011 earthquake and tsunami deepened the sill depth and widened the entrance to enhance water exchange and improve water quality in the lagoon. These changes brought the expansion of seagrass meadows and reduction of mass mortality events to allow sustainable oyster culture in the lagoon. Mapping and monitoring of seagrass meadows and aquaculture facilities via satellite remote sensing can provide clear visualization of their temporal changes. This can in turn facilitate effective aquaculture management and conservation of coastal ecosystems, which are crucial for the sustainable development of coastal waters.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10727
JournalPeerJ
Volume9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jan 14

Keywords

  • Aquaculture facility
  • Blue infrastructure
  • Civil work design
  • High-resolution satellite image
  • Remote sensing
  • Seagrass meadow
  • Sustainability
  • Unmanned aerial vehicles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Monitoring oyster culture rafts and seagrass meadows in Nagatsura-ura Lagoon, Sanriku Coast, Japan before and after the 2011 tsunami by remote sensing: Their recoveries implying the sustainable development of coastal waters'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this