Gakushi Ishimura, Ph.D.

Associate professor
Iwate University


Investigating responses of Japanese fisheries to extreme events

field shot
A swordfish auction at the new fish market in Kesennuma, Japan, which was devasted by the 2011 Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami. Gaku will explore the ways that natural disasters affect fisheries, economies, and ocean health.
Gakushi Ishimura

Extreme events such as earthquakes, tsunamis, typhoons, and disease outbreaks can rapidly reshape fisheries and their impacts on marine ecosystems. As a result of the 2011 Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami, which affected more than 600,000 residents of Honshu, some fisheries reorganized and focused on quality rather than quantity, improving their economic performance while reducing fishing effort. Other fisheries were restricted or closed, leading to increased fish abundance. By contrast, Japan’s April 2020 National State of Emergency declaration in response to the COVID-19 pandemic caused a sudden increase in fishing activity, despite slowing demand for seafood products.

Gakushi Ishimura will investigate how fisheries react to and recover from extreme events and will use this research to inform the development of public policies that can increase socioeconomic resilience against systemic shocks and improve the sustainable management of living marine resources. Working closely with stakeholders in the fishing community, he will gather data and conduct economic analyses to explore the impacts of various shocks on fisheries in Japan and of those fisheries’ responses on marine species and ecosystems. Gaku will use this information to propose marine conservation strategies that can be implemented after extreme events, which may become more frequent with climate change.

To learn more about Gaku, read his bio:

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