Thursday, October 14, 2010

Conservations say Futenma move threatens rich marine life

Tomoyuki Yamamoto at The Asahi Shimbun: "Conservationists say Futenma move threatens rich marine life:"
Small conchs on marine plants on the seabed off the Henoko district in Nago, Okinawa Prefecture.( Image: THE NATURE CONSERVATION SOCIETY OF JAPAN)

An endangered, brightly colored conch is among diverse sea life that may be affected by the planned relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to the Henoko district of Nago, Okinawa Prefecture. A survey by the Nature Conservation Society of Japan found 362 species in the waters off Henoko, society officials said Wednesday.

The vivid yellow-green smaragdia rangiana conch, designated by the prefecture as a potentially endangered species, was found in particular concentration. In one 50-centimeter-square area, researchers found 186 conchs, which have suffered a sharp decline in population because of a loss of habitats. Plants fed on by dugongs, an endangered marine mammal, were also found in abundance.

The society plans to use the survey, carried out in late July, to emphasize the importance of protecting the rich biodiversity in the waters off Henoko at the 10th Conference of the Parties (COP 10) to the Convention on Biological Diversity, which will be held in Nagoya in October. Masato Ono, the society's Conservation Project Division director, said Japan should not destroy the abundant biodiversity in the area.

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