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Oysters and Tsunami: Iterative Learning and Nested Governance as Resilience in Post-Disaster Aquaculture in Hokkaido, Japan

Ito, Takeshi, Watanabe, Takehiro
Society & natural resources 2019 v.32 no.4 pp. 400-416
adaptive management, disaster preparedness, disasters, earthquakes, farmers, fisheries, fisheries law, governance, interviews, lakes, oyster culture, oysters, storm damage, tsunamis, Japan
This article examines how a community of oyster farmers in Hokkaido, Japan recovered from the 2011 Tōhoku Earthquake and Tsunami, which damaged their aquaculture in Lake Akkeshi. It focuses on how, over the years, nested governance structures facilitated iterative learning, which helped build resilience against unexpected external crises. Drawing on adaptive management and resilience studies, this study examines the historical development of the local fishery cooperative association (FCA) as a series of responses to socio-ecological disasters — responses that this article characterizes as iterative learning. During the recovery after the 2011 tsunami, the FCA functioned as an information hub that directed the flow of knowledge and resources through government and industrial hierarchies, to the benefit of the farmers. This research, conducted between 2015 and 2017, is based on interviews with farmers, cooperative administrators, and government officials, as well as an analysis of archived records, fishery regulations and post-disaster subsidy programs.