• Japanese seafood


Building Social Resilience to Environmental Change in Marginalised Coastal Communities

Project overview

This is a research networking project funded under the ESRC-AHRC UK-Japan Social Sciences and Humanities Connections programme. It aims to establish an interdisciplinary research team capable of holistically understanding resilience to environmental change in the coastal and marine environment. The project is led by Dr Leslie Mabon (SAMS) and Prof Midori Kawabe (Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology). The project draws in expertise in marine biology and environmental assessment (Dr Jun Kita and Dr Hiromitsu Onchi, Marine Ecology Research Institute); marine law (Dr Leon Moller, Robert Gordon University); public and stakeholder engagement on marine environmental issues (Prof Hiroshi Kohno, Dr Toshiya Katano, Dr Michiyo Yamamoto-Kawai, TUMSAT); and values in environmental conflicts in coastal nations (Yi-Chen Huang, RGU).

One of the key aims of the collaboration is to build in-depth understanding of case study sites – and the people living and working within them – as a foundation for transdisciplinary research on future larger-scale projects. To this end, the project team is undertaking site visits and pilot-scale research in two locations in Japan: coastal Fukushima Prefecture; and Tomakomai on the northern island of Hokkaido. Activity in Fukushima focuses on the restart of fisheries following the 2011 nuclear accident, and has involved cooperation with Minamisoma City Government, the Soma-Futaba Fisheries Cooperative, Fukushima Prefecture Fisheries Section, and the Naranoha community organisation. Project work in Tomakomai is interested primarily in governance and communication of risk in the marine environment relating to the carbon capture and storage project operating under Tomakomai Bay, the first of its kind in Japan and one of the only such offshore projects in the world. In Tomakomai, the project team are building on MERI’s ongoing marine environmental monitoring activity to assess communication and engagement strategies; and have formed a partnership based on resource-dependent communities with the Shimizusawa Project NGO in adjacent Yubari City.

Role of SAMS on project

Dr Leslie Mabon of SAMS is project Principal Investigator. As such, Dr Mabon and SAMS are responsible for overall coordination of the project, hosting of project workshops in Tokyo and Oban, coordination with stakeholders and communities in Fukushima and Hokkaido, and writing up of scientific outputs. Dr Mabon and SAMS are also working closely with Prof Kawabe and TUMSAT to use the project as a foundation to develop new larger-scale collaborative research and scholarship activities.