Scientific aspects of the global environmental issues had been created
largely due to the long-term time series data such as those from Mauna
Loa Observatory and large-scale spatial maps such as those from the Total
Ozone Mapper on Nimbus 7 Satellite.
Is monitoring the marine environmental changes more difficult than the
atmospheric counterpart? There have been various monitoring techniques
using ships, buoys, and satellites. However each method has its own limitation.
First, it is difficult to reserve a research ship for a specific purpose
for long enough to obtain a trend data. Second, the data from limited number
of buoys cannot represent the sea, which is inherently more heterogeneous
compared to the atmosphere. And third, the satellite cannot directly measure
the biochemical substances and time series are frequently interrupted by
the cloud coverage.
To supplement these constraints, we used the regularly operated passenger
ferries as a monitoring platform, general term of which is the Voluntary
Observing Ship (VOS) or the Ship of Opportunity (SOOP). It enables us to
conduct monitoring continuously for extended period of time over a wide
range. In addition, we have an option of attended observation or in situ experiments because it is a passenger ship.
Among the coastal or marginal seas mentioned in 1., the Seto Inland Sea
of Japan has provided an appropriate situation to evaluate the anthropogenic
factors including administrative policy making, which has been referred
internationally as follows1). "There is some suggestive evidence. The best experiments Smetacek2) can offer comes from the Seto Inland Sea of Japan. Red tides there increased
from 40 a year in 1965 to more than 300 a year in 1973. In 1972 the authorities
introduced controls designed to cut the nutrients entering the sea by half.
The frequency of red tides peaked in 1975 and has been declining steadily".
Therefore, the area including the Seto Inland Sea is one of the key areas
to be monitored with respect to the evaluation of the large-scale man-made