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Status of Stocks & Multispecies Assessment Program

The 8th Republic of Korea United States Fisheries Panel Conference

On 21-23 July 2009 the AFSC hosted the 8th fisheries panel conference between the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK). The former South Korean government agency, MOMAF (Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries), is now the Ministry of Land Transportation and Marine Affairs (MLTM) and Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (MIFAFF), under a reorganization that occurred in early 2008.

The National Fisheries Research and Development Institute (NFRDI) is the primary scientific organization of MIFAFF that participates in the fisheries panel exchanges. The U.S. cooperating partner is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Marine Fisheries Service. The fisheries panel is one of seven panels of the Joint Project Agreement (JPA). The JPA is on its third year of implementation under the second 5-year plan that ends in 2011.

Six scientists from the ROK and 14 scientists from the United States participated in the meeting. Discussions covered six primary research themes. 1) ecosystem approaches to management, 2) bycatch and discard reduction research, 3) fish stock rebuilding, 4) climate change effects on fisheries resources, 5) salmon enhancement research and 6) oil spill restoration.

The meeting provided a forum for discussion and exchange of research findings between the two countries. The leads of the U.S. delegation (Patricia Livingston, REFM Division Director) and the R.O.K. delegation (Dae Soo Chang) reaffirmed that substantial benefits are obtained from the cooperative activities of the fisheries panel through the Korea-U.S. JPA.

The panel activities have raised the level of scientific abilities and enhanced cooperation and exchange of data and techniques between fisheries scientists of both parties. The cooperative activities have contributed substantially to the fisheries assessment and management for sustainable fisheries resources of both countries.

The panel agreed to continue cooperation under the broad project themes discussed at the 7-10 July 2009 meeting of the MLTM/MIFAFF-NOAA JPA in Hawaii.

The seven major projects for 2010 are 1) fisheries panel conference, 2) climate change impacts on fisheries, 3) ecosystem-based assessments and management, 4) policy training and stock rebuilding, 5) bycatch reduction research in tuna longline fisheries, 6) survey gear engineering research, and 7) a new project to develop an observer program to support fisheries management under an April 2008 Korean fisheries management law.

By Anne Hollowed and Loh-Lee Low

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