Sunday, March 16, 2014

Coastal ecosystem (and grunt sculpins) reviving in Tohoku's coastal waters...

Baby grunt sculpin returns to Minamisanriku's coastal waters. (Photo: Nagaaki Sato)

In "Life Returns to the Sea," Tomoko Nagano, editor of Huffpost Japan, details underwater photographer Nagaaki Sato's joy at the return of coastal Tohoku's sea life:
Mr. Sato has been observing the rich sea of Minamisanriku for more than 20 years. There was one specific little fish that caught Mr. Sato's attention called the grunt sculpin. "For me, this fish is like the bluebird that brings happiness..."

In June 2011, Mr. Sato dove into the sea he once called home for the first time after the earthquake, and the scenery had completely changed. "There is no color. The world lost its color." The tsunami carried away all the vibrant, colorful fish and the beautiful sands that decorated the sea of Minamisanriku. All that was left was miserable rubble.

In the three years since then, the area surrounding the ocean hasn't seen much improvement, but significant changes have been happening in the sea...

The grunt sculpin, the fish that changed Mr. Sato's life, has also returned to Minamisanriku after three years. "They're still very small. These babies grew up in this ocean after the disaster. I'm proud that they grew to this size. (speaking to the fish) You're so lively! You're swimming so fast!"
Note: The adorable grunt sculpin actually grunts, hence its name; uses spiny fins to walk along the ocean floor; hides in empty giant barnacle shells and bottles in ocean tidepools, rocky areas, sandy bottoms of shallow North Pacific coastlines.

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