Asian Surf Grass
Asian Surf Grass, Phyllospadix japonicus, is classified as ‘Endangered’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. It lives submerged in the world’s oceans, and found only in the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan. Asian surf grass is uniquely adapted to grow on rocky substrate in the surf zone, unlike most other seagrasses. Seagrasses are an important coastal habitat that sequester carbon, filter coastal waters, and contribute to ocean productivity.
Although previously widespread, the range of Phyllospadix japonicus is currently in decline along the coasts of Korea and northern China, with a very limited distribution in Japan. Since the establishment of extensive kelp algal aquaculture, a large proportion of this seagrass species has been permanently removed, sometimes with dynamiting in Japan. Shoreline hardening is also a major threat for Phyllospadix japonicus.
In South Korea, Phyllospadix japonicus is protected by 'The Marine Ecosystem Conservation and Management Act' and in many areas its distribution falls into marine protected areas. Particularly in Japan and China, this endangered seagrass species is in need of protection and restoration.