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North Pacific Fisheries Commission

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Summer 2015
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The North Pacific Fisheries Commission held its first conference as a new Commission in Tokyo, Japan, on 3 September 2015.  This conference was preceded by a week of preparatory conferences. Dr. Loh-Lee Low attended as the science support to the U.S. Delegation to NPFC. The following science issues were addressed by the Parties:

  1. Stock Assessments – Two stocks were assessed, the Pacific armorhead stock over the Emperor Seamounts area and the Pacific saury stock in the western North Pacific. The Parties could not reach agreement on management of these stocks and would hold working group sessions in 2016 to assess the stocks and develop fisheries management strategies for their fisheries;
  2. Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems –This is an important role to the Commission as the issue of protecting corals and VMEs is mandated under a United Nations General Assembly Resolution. NOAA will have the lead role to develop encounter protocols of trawling on corals for the Commission.

By Loh-Lee Low

U.S.-Russia Intergovernmental Consultative Committee

The United States and Russia meet annually to coordinate bilateral fisheries science and enforcement issues.  This year’s meeting (9-11 September 2015) achieved a significant singing of an agreement to cooperate on enforcement of IUU (Illegal, Unregulated, and Unreported) fishing activities in the North Pacific Ocean.  The press release for this agreement follows below.  The ICC forum also provided both countries a forum to coordinate fisheries science and research issues.  We reached agreement to coordinate the following research activities: 1) walrus research in the Russian and U.S. sides of the Bering Sea, 2) ice seal research in the Bering and Chukchi Seas, 3) pollock research on both sides of the transbounday area of the northern Bering Sea, and 4) salmon and integrated ecosystem research in the Arctic region. Dr. Loh-Lee Low provided the main science support for these discussions.

By Loh-Lee Low

United States and Russia Sign Agreement to Prevent Illegal Fishing
Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
September 11, 2015

On September 11, 2015, Russian and U.S. negotiators signed a bilateral agreement to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. The two governments have been working together for many years on efforts to address illegal fishing. The signing took place in conjunction with the 26th annual Intergovernmental Consultative Committee (ICC) meeting hosted by the United States in Portland, Oregon, where delegations from the two countries discussed ocean and fisheries issues of mutual concern.

The agreement aims to improve coordination among the multiple government agencies in both countries that need to work together to address IUU fishing. In the United States, the agreement has the strong support of the fishing industry based in the Pacific Northwest/Alaska region, as well as the environmental community. This agreement also supports the recommendations of the Presidential Task Force on Combatting IUU Fishing and Seafood Fraud.

For further information, please contact Esther Bell at




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