Director, Ocean Policy Research Department, Ocean Policy Research Institute, The Sasakawa Peace Foundation
Noises emitted underwater cannot be heard in the air above. Unbeknownst to most of us, ocean noise has grown into a serious problem. There is concern that ocean noise arising from ships, offshore wind platforms, and seabed mineral exploration is affecting marine life. With international organizations are now actively engaged, the ocean noise problem may well succeed the plastic debris problem as a primary focus. In this article, I consider the effects of ocean noise on marine life and what our future responses might be.
Prompted by Japan’s 2019 reopening of commercial whaling within its EEZ, discussions on the whaling issue have been revived both domestically and abroad. The responses from overseas have for the most part been critical, though some have evaluated positively the reduction in number of whales taken and Japan’s withdrawal from the Antarctic Ocean. Characterizing whaling as a Japanese tradition generated misunderstanding and criticism. A more thorough explanation of how whaling constitutes part of the Japanese identity is now needed.
Senior Research Fellow, Ocean Policy Research Institute, The Sasakawa Peace Foundation
2020 should prove to be an unprecedented year for ocean related fields in Japan. A variety of international conferences are scheduled, including the UN Ocean Conference and the Convention on Biological Diversity / Conference of the Parties (CBD/COP). As a once in a decade opportunity to decide on the post-Aichi Targets to 2030, CBD-COP is especially important. The problems of ocean space are closely interrelated. There are high hopes that progress can be made during this Ocean Super Year in the international debate on the problems of sustainable development in the ocean.