Press Release

June 18, 2012

Incorporated Administrative Agency, Fisheries Research Agency

Protect fish farms from red tides!
- Buoys installed for automatic monitoring of red tides in the Yatsushiro Sea -

  • Automatic observation buoys have been installed in the Yatsushiro Sea off the shores of Himedo (Kami-Amakusa City) and Otao (Amakusa City).
  • The buoys monitor wind direction and velocity, as well as the seawater temperature, salt content, chlorophyll content and current velocity from the sea surface to a depth of about 40 m. The data is available in real time both via the Internet and cell phone.

Red tides (dominated by a harmful alga Chattonella spp.) occurred in the Yatsushiro Sea in three consecutive years from 2008 to 2010, and caused serious damage of over 8.3 billion yen to aquaculture of yellowtail, etc. A principal cause was considered to be that the red tides had developed into large scales over a long period of time and drifted to the fish farm areas by winds and currents. However, it has been difficult to monitor the complicated seawater movements of this area in real time.

To solve these problems, the Fisheries Research Agency has developed a information provision system for publicizing data in real time monitored by automatic observation buoys in the Yatsushiro Sea as a model sea area. On June 8, the system started publicizing data from two buoys on webpage “Real-time water quality information in the Yatsushiro Sea” (

The information on the location of the HSP genes on the genome will accelerate studies on the gene functions, elucidation of the mechanisms involved in high-temperature resistance, and creation of new high-temperature-resistant varieties. DNA markers for discriminating nori varieties in products will be constructed to help protect the breeding rights of nori varieties in Japan.

The system is expected to contribute in protecting fish farms from red tides. Combined with “Chattonella red tide distribution information in the Ariake and Yatsushiro Seas” (, which has been available since May 2011, the information will help people to know the precise development, distribution and movements of red tides and quickly take protective measures against them, such as stopping feeding fish and moving pens to safe areas. The Fisheries Research Agency will also use the information to carry out studies on the generation mechanisms of red tides to mitigate fisheries damage.

* “Real-time water quality information in the Yatsushiro Sea” and “Chattonella red tide distribution information in the Ariake and Yatsushiro seas” are also accessible from the webpage of Seikai National Fisheries Research Institute (
** This is a result of the subsidized project of the Fisheries Agency, entitled “Development of efficient technologies for continuous monitoring of red tides and oxygen deficient water”.