Syntrophic Waters: A Vision for (Co-)Productive Marine Conservancy
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The twentieth century witnessed a dietary shift in Japan, which resulted in greater consumption of exotic seafood species that occupy high trophic levels. This, along with the industrialisation of commercial fisheries and the subsequent global popularisation of Japanese cuisine in the post-war era have all contributed to the current ecological crisis in all of the world’s oceans. The rapid depletion of marine biomass and large-scale destruction of ocean ecosystems have led to an intensifying marine metabolic rift that threatens not only the survival of marine species, but also the livelihoods of communities still dependent upon their small-scale fisheries industries. It is clear that a new fisheries model is needed. Rather than pitting the preservation of ecosystems and the provisioning of affluent markets against one another, this thesis envisions a hybrid model that combines conservation efforts with more sustainable production practices. It calls for a bottom-up approach that prioritises the establishment and maintenance of suitable habitats for fish populations to thrive. This model of syntrophic production would transform the fisheries worker from a mere extraction expert to a marine steward. The Japanese town of Oma, in the northern prefecture of Aomori, is the testing ground for this new fisheries model. Renowned for its annual landings of Bluefin tuna, this remote, northern community is especially vulnerable to the impending commercial collapse of the species. Through the establishment of a “productive marine refuge”, the thesis aims to provide alternative revenue routes for the town’s fisheries workers while simultaneously allowing for the rehabilitation of the region’s marine ecosystem. The existing fishing port and associated shoreline are transformed into an intensive working landscape that supports the complex trophic relationships in the marine environment. At the same time, the new landscape will provide an opportunity for the general public to engage with the production processes that support its consumption habits. 1. Rebecca Clausen and Brett Clark, “The Metabolic Rift and Marine Ecology,” Organization & Environment 19, no. 4 (2005): 425.
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I Shan Elsa Tang (2018). Syntrophic Waters: A Vision for (Co-)Productive Marine Conservancy. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/13963