The kelp will disappear? Climate change pushes Japan into food crisis

A study by Hokkaido University suggests that the kelp could disappear completely from Japanese waters by the end of the century as warming worsens and sea temperatures rise. “Kumbu” is one of the essential ingredients in Japanese pot materials and Kanto cooking. Kumbu is actually a thick-leafkel kelp native to Japan. Japan’s kelp has been cut sharply in recent years, and a study by Hokkaido University suggests that the kelp could disappear completely from Japanese waters by the end of the century as warming worsens and sea temperatures rise, the Daily News reported.

The kelp will disappear? Climate change pushes Japan into food crisis

Japan News Network Video Screenshot

Earlier this year, Japanese media reported that Japan was plunged into its worst “sea moss desert” in nearly half a century as the climate warmed and sea moss production plummeted.

Climate change is pushing Japan into a food crisis, the BBC reports.

Japan’s Kelp is in a hurry

In Japan, after the cold winter, people’s favorite dishes are shouxi pots and Kanto cooking, kelp and radish belong to the “must-point” vegetables, restaurants in great demand.

A restaurant in Tokyo that has Kanto cooked as its signature dish says the winter kelp is high, requiring at least 10 kilograms a month, but prices have been rising in recent years, according to Japan News. The owner of a kelp franchise in Osaka says there are fewer and fewer high-quality kelp today, with an average price of about twice as high as five years ago. As prices rise, consumption decreases.

According to a report released by the Kumbu Association of Japan, the country’s kelp production in 1995 was about 28,000 tons, while the total output in 2019 is expected to be only 13,000 tons. In other words, kelp production has been cut in half in 25 years.

The kelp will disappear? Climate change pushes Japan into food crisis

Japanese media Abema video screenshot

A joint team of researchers from Hokkaido University’s Northern Biosphere Field Science Center and the School of Environmental Sciences of the University of Japan surveyed 11 major kelp species distributed in northern Japan and collected information on these kelpes using a biodiversity database, based on climate change trends. Changes in the kelp distribution regions in the 2040s and 2090s are predicted.

The team’s paper, published in the scientific journal Ecological Research, shows that the kelp distribution in northern Japan will fall to 25 percent in the 1980s by the 2090s as global warming increases significantly. As the climate warms, four of the 11 kelp are predicted to disappear from Japanese waters by the 2090s.

Professor Zhongyayu, who was involved in the study, said the worst-case scenario would be that by the end of the century, when the water temperature in the waters around Hokkaido rises by about 10 degrees Celsius, all 11 kelp will disappear.

The kelp will disappear? Climate change pushes Japan into food crisis

Professor Zhonggang yayu said the worst-case scenario would be that by the end of the century, when the water temperature in the waters around Hokkaido rises by about 10 degrees Celsius, all 11 kelp will disappear. Video screenshot

The worst “sea moss desert” in half a century.

In addition to kelp, Japan is also a big consumer of sea moss.

The kelp will disappear? Climate change pushes Japan into food crisis

The raw materials for all kinds of rice balls in Japan include sea moss. Twitter Screenshot

Japan’s sea moss production has been declining for a decade due to slow growth of algae crops due to rising sea temperatures, according to Japan’s Food News. Production is now 15 per cent lower than a year ago, and is expected to fall below 6.2bn this year, the lowest level in half a century.

Japan’s annual sea moss demand exceeds 8.5 billion, and the gap in 2019 is nearly 30% of total demand. Since last year, the long-term use of sea moss in the store has risen from 18 yen (about 1.1 yuan) to 22 yen (about 1.4 yuan), causing the cost of making each group to rise by more than 10 percent, the head of a restaurant store said.

Food News reported that if sea moss production falls further, imports from South Korea and China may be considered in order to maintain market prices.

Japan faces food crisis

Japanese consumers have also lost faith in the authorities in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, the BBC reported. Japanese farmers are getting older and fewer.

Dr. Penialanda of the United Nations University in Yokohama says Japanese consumers rely on imports for more than 60 per cent of the calories they consume. Japan relies on strong financial resources to import large quantities of food from world markets, but climate change could soon change that. “We don’t know how long these countries will be able to export cheap food to Japan. Once the situation changes, Japan must find new suppliers as soon as possible. “

Japan is a big consumer of aquatic products, the older generation of Japanese was once the world’s largest fish consumer group. But a reduction in fish production will also change Japanese eating habits.

Scientists at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Hokkaido University in Japan, the American Environmental Protection Association and others, simulated the effects of climate change on 915 species of fish worldwide.

The study found that about 50 percent of the fish studied would migrate to other waters as the sea warmed up, and that almost all fish production would decline. Fisheries in tropical coastal countries will be the hardest hit.

Addressing the challenges posed by climate change requires more effective fisheries management measures, including a ban on overfishing and enhanced multilateral fisheries cooperation, to ensure that marine fish stocks can continue to provide important food sources for the global population for decades to come.

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