Unprecedented high catches of Pacific salmon continue in most areas
of the North Pacific, reports the North Pacific Anadromous Fish
Commission (NPAFC). Only at the southeastern part of their range
off British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and California are Pacific
salmon stocks in low abundance.
Representatives of Canada, Japan, Republic of Korea, Russia and the
United States, the primary states of origin for salmon stocks in the
North Pacific, met in Niigata, Japan, November 2-6, 2009, for the
Seventeenth Annual Meeting of the NPAFC. The meeting was chaired by
Dr. Suam Kim of the Republic of Korea, President of the NPAFC.
The Parties reviewed enforcement efforts and activities in the
Convention Area in 2009. Agencies responsible for the planning and
execution of enforcement activities met to coordinate their
enforcement efforts to detect and deter illegal fishing in the
Convention Area. Joint long-range aircraft patrols and coordination
with each Party’s
enforcement vessels are used to detect illegal fishing. Member
countries conducted 188 ship patrol days and 279 aerial patrol hours
in the Convention Area. This year, no Parties sighted any vessels
suspected of illegal fishing, although Taiwan (NPAFC observer)
sighted one vessel with driftnets deployed. This year’s results may
reflect a reduction in illegal, unregulated, or unreported fishing
in the North Pacific, and may be a result of significant increase in
patrol efforts in recent years.
Taiwanese authorities, which are official observers to the NPAFC,
reported their efforts to ensure Taiwanese vessels and nationals do
not fish salmon in the NPAFC Convention Area.
Due to the continued threat of high seas fishing for salmon in the
Convention Area, all Parties reaffirmed their commitment to maintain
2010 enforcement activities at high levels as a deterrent to the
threat of potential unauthorized fishing activities. Russian
representatives invited all the participants to the Enforcement
Evaluation and Coordination Meeting to be held next April in
The NPAFC scientific research focuses on trends in marine production
of salmon stocks, their population structure and diversity in marine
ecosystems of the North Pacific, and climate change impacts. NPAFC
scientists also met to further their understanding of Pacific salmon
and their ecosystems. The NPAFC provides the only international
forum for scientists to conduct such work.
A review of international cooperation in salmon research over the
past several years covered a broad range of issues concerning
Pacific salmonid stocks. This exchange helps answer many perplexing
questions about salmon abundance. The NPAFC’s cooperative research
program, the Bering-Aleutian Salmon International Survey (BASIS),
documents ocean and atmospheric changes and other biological and
ecological dynamics affecting salmonid production. New genetic and
otolith marking techniques developed by the Parties are being used
to identify the origins of salmon and intermixing of the stocks in
the Pacific Ocean. In addition, new high tech tags are being used
to track the migratory behaviour of salmon on the high seas.
Last year, NPAFC hosted the
International Symposium on BASIS in
Seattle, USA. The symposium
summarized BASIS research
2002 and increased understanding of how climate
in the ocean.
information is available from
the NPAFC website
The NPAFC is also working with PICES, ICES and FAO towards another
international symposium in 2010 to further overall scientific
understanding of the effect of climate change on fish, including
In 2007, the NPAFC was awarded a grant from the Gordon and Betty
Moore Foundation in support of a long-term, integrated research and
monitoring plan for Pacific salmon. This plan synthesizes past
research and identifies critical areas for new research to
understand impacts of future climate and ocean changes on the
population dynamics of Pacific salmon. The project has been
completed and the final report will soon be publically available.
NPAFC is in an active process with outside experts to undertake a
review of the organization’s performance. A performance review
report will be presented at the 2010 NPAFC Annual Meeting.
NPAFC is establishing closer relations with the Western and Central
Pacific Fishing Commission (WCPFC) by developing a Memorandum of
Understanding between our two organizations.
The drawing of the returned high seas salmon tags was held at the
meeting. Three prizes for the total amount of $1,000 were awarded
to the winners.
The American Institute of Fisheries Research Biologists presented
their group excellence award to the Commission.
The Commission elected Dr. James Balsiger of the United States as
the next President of the NPAFC.
The NPAFC was established by
the Convention for the Conservation of Anadromous Stocks in the
North Pacific Ocean (the Convention) in 1993. The NPAFC promotes
the conservation of Pacific Salmon in the North Pacific and its
adjacent seas and serves as a venue for cooperation in, and
coordination of, enforcement activities and scientific research.
The Eighteenth Annual Meeting
of the NPAFC is scheduled to be held in Busan, Korea in November
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