MIYAKO, Iwate–Debris from the March 11 tsunami is being used to construct an abalone farm and a breakwater off Taro Port in the Taro district of Miyako.
The prefecture is seeking to kill two birds with one stone: avoid the cost of disposing of the debris while also contributing to the development of the aquafarming industry. Consumers will likely be able to sample “reconstruction abalone” in a few years.
A 10-meter-high coastal levee and other facilities in the Taro district were destroyed by the tsunami and a large amount of concrete debris left behind.
Iwate Prefecture’s Miyako Fisheries Promotion Center proposed using the concrete for restoration to the Environment Ministry and the Miyako Coast Guard Station in mid-May.
The center also explained its plan to use concrete debris to repair the breakwater and establish abalone and sea urchin farms to the Tarocho fisheries cooperative association and the Miyako municipal government. Both organizations accepted the plan.
According to the center, using debris for the farm will eliminate the costs of treating the debris and transporting it to disposal facilities, and lower the cost of constructing a breakwater.
Work to pile up debris in a breakwater about 70 meters long, 10 meters wide and 3.5 meters tall has almost finished. The breakwater is expected to be completed by the end of September, when wave-dissipating blocks are placed on the surface.
Meanwhile, the center plans to utilize huge concrete blocks from the previous breakwater that were washed away by tsunami and sank in the fishing port to create the aquafarm. Of the about 30 huge blocks that sank in the port, some that settled in shipping lanes will be broken up and used for the farm.
According to the plan, the crushed concrete blocks will be lowered to the seabed over an about 40,000-square-meter area adjacent to the breakwater and other stone material will be piled on top of them. By recycling blocks that sank in other fishing ports as well, the cultivation farm is scheduled to be completed in a few years.
The Tarocho fisheries cooperative association ran aquafarms in four areas, apart from the planned site, before the disaster. Last fiscal year, its abalone sales were about 300 million yen, accounting for 12 percent of all abalone sales in the prefecture.
However, no survey has been done of the damage suffered by its existing farms in the tsunami. The facilities the association managed for cultivating baby abalone were washed away March 11.
An official at the association welcomed the plan, saying, “It’ll be convenient if a new farm is constructed near the fishing port. We also appreciate the early construction of a breakwater.”
Shoichiro Fujiwara, the center’s fishing port and village division chief was one of the originators of the idea.
“[I’ll be glad] if abalone [cultivated in debris] helps restore fisheries,” Fujiwara said.
Akira Nagano, chairman of the national fisheries construction association, said it was a groundbreaking idea for promoting the fisheries industry.
“It’s likely other fishing ports will adopt the idea,” he said.
(Aug. 16, 2011)