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MOE home > Nature and Parks > EBSA home > Coastal Area > 10501 Adjacent waters of Kunashiri Is.


Coastal Area 10501 Adjacent waters of Kunashiri Is.

Basic Information A separate window opensReferences

Relevant municipalities Tomari, Ruyobetsu, Hokkaido Prefecture
Area (km2) 1354

Reason(s) for selection A separate window opensCriteria

Selected by experts due to high levels of productivity and naturaness and rich pinnipeds

Characteristics A separate window opensReferences

The waters in the vicinity of Kunashiro Island are known to have a very rich natural environment and, as a result, their primeval environment is known to be habitat for many sea birds, pinnipeds, fish, and others. The coast has both high productivity and a natural environment with large populations of seaweed, sea urchin, and others. The coast on the south side of Kunashiri Island also is home to eel grass beds (both eel grass and Zostera asiatica grow here), seen only here among the four northern islands (Mukai, personal communication), and these are precious waters as non-breeding grounds and a summer habitat for the red-throated diver (Kitano Umino no Dobutsu Center, 2003).
The west side, to Cape Keramui, is home to large populations of Dall's porpoise to the north and Pacific white-sided dolphin to the south. From the central area to the east Minke whale, Dall's porpoise, and harbor porpoise can be seen, and in the deeper waters on the Okhotsk side sperm whales can be spotted (Kitano Umino no Dobutsu Center, 2003). Among pinnipeds, spotted seals are numerous, and harbor seals are often seen here. While small in number, sea otters can be seen here as well (Northern four islands (Northern Teritories) expert exchanges committee of marine mammal and sea birds, 2000). While 41 species of sea birds have been confirmed to live here, more species tend to be distributed on the west side than on the east (Kitano Umino no Dobutsu Center, 2003). Short-tailed shearwater gather in the waters from Arashima Island to Benten Island, to such an extent that flocks of 200,000-500,000 can be observed. The waters of Kunashiri Strait at Cape Moekeshi (on the east side of southern Etorofu Island) are important feeding grounds for sea birds, especially fulmar and tufted puffin (Kitano Umino no Dobutsu Center, 2003).

Environment / Habitat infromation A separate window opensData source

Tidal mud flats (km2)
Moba (seaweed bed) (km2)
Coral reef coverage (km2)
Natural coast (km) -
Rate of natural coast (%) -
Sand bank / submerged sand bank
Other habitats

Species information (*) A separate window opensData source

Criteria 1
Phoca largha (Larga Seal (Spotted Seal))
Phoca vitulina (Common seal (Harbour Seal))
Criteria 2
Theragra chalcogramma (Alaska pollock)[Sp]
Clupea pallasii (Pacific herring)[Sp]
Criteria 3
Phoca vitulina (Common seal (Harbour Seal))
Fratercula cirrhata (Tufted Puffin)
Cepphus carbo (Spectacled Guillemot)

* This is the species list of which meet the criteria. In that matter, this list does not include all species that inhabit the individual area.
Abbreviation in the information is as follows.
[Br/Ne] : Adjacent water of breeding area or nesting site
[Sp] : spawning area
[Ad] : species not used for analysis but add to the list because inhabit information was collected later
[Ex] : species used for analysis but considered to be possibly extinct in the EBSA region (area)
No mark : data of species distribution


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