Recovering the 'Forest of Corals'


Okinawa's corals and its current state

The Ryukyu Archipelago, to which the island of Okinawa belongs to, is home to approximately 80% of Japan's reef-building corals as well as many other precious creatures. However, coral reefs, which are necessary to maintain the richness of the ocean, are now in a critical situation due to a combination of global environmental stresses such as rising sea levels and water temperatures caused by global warming. There are also local environmental stresses caused by marine pollution such as the inflow of red soil and eutrophication.

Corals are indispensable for protecting the biodiversity of the ocean. It helps to mitigate disasters by purifying the surrounding water and by serving as a natural breakwater. They are also an important and indispensable part of human life as they provide rich fishing grounds.

If coral reefs continue to die out and the current catastrophic situation continues, it is predicted that one third of the world's coral reefs may become extinct, and it is feared that such an event will have a major impact on the ecosystem.


Japan's first attempt at coral restoration through sexual reproduction:
Yaeyama Fishermen's Cooperative Association's efforts


Restoring Okinawa's rich ocean

Coral bleaching has been progressing due to the rise in sea temperatures caused by global warming, mass outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish, and the influx runoff red soil. It is said that 70% of the coral in Sekisei Lagoon has been wiped out in 2016.

In order to solve this issue and to restore the richness of the ocean, Yaeyama Fishermen's Cooperative Association is taking on the challenge of coral restoration through sexual reproduction at a practical level. This project is the first of its kind ever attempted in Japan.


Aiming to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The SDGs, adopted at the United Nations Summit in September 2015, are a set of 17 international goals that aim to create a sustainable and better planet by 2030.

Of the 17 goals, Goal #14 states that participating nations will "protect the richness of oceans." We are taking on this endeavor to make the ocean healthy and productive again — as well as to restore the ecosystems of the oceans and coastal regions.

The project, in turn, will provide vitality to local industries (e.g. tourism) as well as cities that will remain habitable for a long time.


Sakieda Gulf, where the coral have died (Ishigaki City)


Coral of Sakieda Gulf beginning to show sign of recovery

Efforts in Coral Sexual Reproduction

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