North Pacific salmon catches ‘high’
Unprecedented high catches of Pacific salmon continue in most areas of the North Pacific, while salmon stocks off British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and California are in low abundance, the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission (NPAFC) reported at its 17th annual meeting last week.
Representatives from Canada, Japan, Korea, Russia and the United States met in Niigata, Japan, from 2 to 6 November.
In addition to updating participants on the status of salmon stocks, the commission reviewed 2009 enforcement efforts in the Convention Area (the waters of the North Pacific and its adjacent seas) designed to deter illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing.
Joint long-range vessels and aircraft patrols are used to detect illegal fishing. Member countries conducted 188 days of ship patrol and 279 hours of aerial patrols in the Convention Area in 2009.
This year, no vessels suspected of illegal fishing were sighted, although a Taiwanese observer found one vessel with driftnets illegally deployed. The results may reflect a reduction in IUU fishing in the North Pacific and a significant increase in surveillance efforts in recent years.
NPAFC scientists also met to further their understanding of Pacific salmon and their ecosystems.
At the meeting, NAPFC elected Dr. James Balsiger as its next president, replacing Dr. Suam Kim of the Republic of Korea, and accepted the American Institute of Fisheries Research Biologists’ group excellence award.
The NPAFC was established by the Convention for the Conservation of Anadromous Stocks in the North Pacific Ocean in 1993. The NPAFC promotes the conservation of North Pacific salmon and serves as a venue for coordination of enforcement activities and scientific research.