Beaches, shore defenses... and turtles

As you may have noticed, beaches throughout Japan are equipped with sea walls and breakwaters. These shore defenses are essential to protect local residents from stormy seas and high tides. However, when shore defenses are created, other things are lost. To elderly people who used to enjoy going down to the shore and gathering shellfish and seaweed to eat, shore defenses are a major obstacle. Moreover, the vegetation that used to keep the sand from blowing away is lost when shore defenses are built. Sand is also washed away from the beach, leaving it narrow and depleted. And because the places where vegetation grows become isolated from the beach, the nocturnal insects that used to appear on the beach are lost. Insects that emerge from the vegetation at night break down the garbage washed up on the beach. When shore defenses are built, the organisms that break down garbage disappear. The Sea Turtle Association is currently conducting scientific evaluations of the problems caused by shore defenses, and compiling the resulting information. We hope to work with the Government and construction companies to solve these problems. We believe that this will enable us to protect the beaches where sea turtles come ashore to nest.