The initial meeting of the UJNR (United States Japan Natural Resources) Aquaculture Panel is a significant event in the most comprehensive bilateral cooperative program between our two countries. This meeting brings together technical representatives of an ancient but still far from scientifically mature endeavor in any country, and it is especially significant that this initial meeting takes place in the country acknowledged to be in the vanguard of the "art" of aquaculture.
My personal interest in this field is great, as my professional background in marine ecology has involved studies of Hawaiian fish ponds as well as attempts at rearing zoeal stages of crabs. My feeling for the field thus enables me to sympathize with those who have labored long and hard at aquacultural problems, and my interest has led me to visit many of the aquacultural activities of Japan during my brief period of residence in this country.
Japanese panel members have spent much time and effort on the conference program which should not only give each delegation a summary review of aquacultural activities in each country, but will sift through the problems of the field and thus establish principal points for the agenda of the next panel meeting to be held in the United States. Field trip organization has been both elaborate and detailed so that special interests of the U.S. participants can be fulfilled.
Aquaculture in the Western world most likely dates from the early Roman period when oysters were brought under cultivation. Whether or not Asian aquacultural activities antedate those of the West I do not know, but there is little doubt that Japan's mariculture is the most varied and successful in any country today. Unlike aquaculture in Southeastern Asia which deals with few species in mass production systems, Japan's objective has been to produce variety and to sustain a large group of seashore residents in gainful economic activity. In the last few decades the mass production of exportable products such as oyster spat has sustained not only a host of Japan's mariculturists but those of the western United States and other areas of the world as well. Recently, a news item indicated that 15 planeloads of seed oysters from Sendai will be shipped to Bordeaux, France, via New York to replenish the declining oyster breeding farms there. Each plane will carry approximately 243 million seed oysters.
Mariculture, like most other industries, makes major surges when breakthroughs in technology occur. Most of these breakthroughs have occurred in Japan, indicating that the world renowned "green thumb" of the Japanese is based on substantial scientific observation, experimentation, and deduction.
Everyone is well aware of the great strides in mariculture being made in Japan, both with plant and animal species. Special mention should be made of very promising success in marine cultivation of rainbow trout, which ultimately may replace our diminishing salmon supply on the world's tables. One need only to let his mind wander a bit to realize what potential lies in the selection of rainbow trout for rapid growth, a la Lauren R. Donaldson of the University of Washington, combined with the greatly accelerated growth rate of trout reared in seawater.
During the field trips the impact of Japan's industrialization and urbanization on mariculture will be most apparent. Many of these problems are also being experienced in the United States. I hope that during the course of these and future joint panel meetings an assessment can be made of this threatening environmental circumstance so that agencies in each country, recently established for environmental affairs, can bring proper action to bear on preserving the basic environment for aquaculture. We all realize that pollution of inshore waters may not be all bad. We have not really attempted to utilize controlled eutrophication or warmed water from power plants to increase maricultural production. Theoretically these are viable concepts and should receive attention very soon.
We all look forward to an outstanding series of meetings and field trips. I should like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the U.S. Government, to thank the Japanese panelists for an outstanding job of organization.
1 Scientific Attache. U.S.
Embassy. Tokyo. Japan.