The second State of the Marine Environment Report (SOMER-2) for the NOWPAP region has recently been published. The SOMER-2 has been prepared by NOWPAP POMRAC in collaboration with other three NOWPAP RACs, based on the first State of Marine Environment Report (published in 2007) and taking into account developments in recent years. The SOMER-2 presents the current status of marine environment, assessing the marine and coastal areas of the NOWPAP region by analyzing major marine environmental problems and issues including contamination by hazardous substances through atmospheric deposition as well as river and direct inputs, oil and chemical spills, harmful algal blooms, marine litter, non-indigenous and invasive species, habitat transformation, endangered species, and climate change impacts
Korea increased annual contribution
As pledged at the 18th NOWPAP Intergovernmental Meeting, Korea increased its annual financial contribution to the NOWPAP Trust Fund to USD 125,000 (from previous level of USD 100,000). With the continuous efforts made by the NOWPAP member states in the past years, NOWPAP is currently only short of USD 25, 000 in meeting the target annual contribution to the Trust Fund of USD 500,000.
Implementation plans agreed at three RACs Focal Points Meetings
Three of the four NOWPAP regional activity centers (MERRAC, DINRAC and CEARAC) have convened their focal points meetings (FPMs) in June-July 2014 in Daejeon, Korea, Beijing, China, and Toyama, Japan, respectively. While reviewing the activities carried out since their previous FPMs, the focal points of MERRAC, DINRAC and CEARAC discussed and agreed on the implementation plans for the activities and projects to be implemented in 2014-2015 biennium which were approved by the 18th NOWPAP Intergovernmental Meeting (IGM) in December 2013.
- Pilot assessment of impacts of major threats to marine biodiversity in selected sea areas.
- Trial application of the screening procedure of the NOWPAP common procedure for eutrophication assessment.
- Case studies of sea grass mapping in selected sea areas.
- Annual update of existing DINRAC databases and website pages.
- Collection of information on endangered/threatened marine species in the NOWPAP region.
- NOWPAP DELTA exercise (full-scale oil spill response exercise) in Russia.
- Database update on oil and HNS spill response equipment and experts.
- Development of an online pollution reporting system.
- Risk assessment of oil spill incidents.
In addition, the three RACs will carry out activities related to marine litter according to the NOWPAP Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter (RAP MALI), covering case studies of marine litter management in river basin, distribution and impact of floating marine litter, and enriching database on marine litter. In order to enhance cooperation between NOWPAP and its major partners, the RAC focal points as well as representatives from PICES, NEASPEC, YSLME, and IOC WESTPAC exchanged information and discussed ways of collaboration in the future, including co-convening workshops.
POMRAC will have its FPM in September 2014 in Busan, Korea.
Donors approached for possible funding
The Toyota Environment Activity Fund, the Nippon Foundation and Toyota Foundation were approached by a representative of NOWPAP Regional Coordinating Unit (RCU) in May and June for possible funding of projects to be implemented by experts from the NOWPAP region. Through attending a workshop of the Toyota Environment Activity Fund and visits in person to the offices of the Nippon Foundation and Toyota Foundation in Tokyo, details of their donor programmes, including focal areas and application schedules, have become available which will be useful for the development of project proposals initiated by the NOWPAP RCU.
NOWPAP at EAS Partnership Council Meeting
In order to strengthen the relationships with the Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA), NOWPAP RCU representative attended the 6th East Asian Seas (EAS) Partnership Council Meeting held on 23-24 June 2014 in Manila, the Philippines. Many NOWPAP activities are contributing to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia adopted in 2003 by PEMSEA countries and NOWPAP has served as a non-country member of the EAS Partnership Council since 2007. The NOWPAP representative made a presentation at the meeting on NOWPAP activities and discussed possible joint activities between NOWPAP and PEMSEA in 2014 and 2015. As a result, PEMSEA will send an expert to participate in the NOWPAP POMRAC workshop on Ecological Quality Objectives to be held in Busan in September 2014, and PEMSEA experts have also reviewed the drat ICARM Guidelines prepared by NOWPAP POMRAC. In 2015, PEMSEA and NOWPAP POMRAC are expected to organize a joint training course on ICARM.
Two workshops convened for Regional Seas
UNEP convened two technical workshops from 30 June to 4 July 2014 in Geneva which a NOWPAP representative attended together with other participants from individual Regional Seas Programmes and relevant international organizations.
The technical workshop on selecting indicators for the state of Regional Seas marked the starting point of setting a “core set” of indicators to be used by the Regional Seas to assess the state of marine environment, pressures, response, etc. A plan of NOWPAP POMRAC to develop of the Ecological Quality Objectives for the NOWPAP region was introduced during the workshop.
The visioning workshop for the future of Regional Seas was designed to get a preliminary consensus among individual Regional Seas programmes regarding their possible areas of work in the coming 5-10-40 years. After a few plenary and breakout sessions, four broad areas were agreed upon for the next 10 years (and probably beyond); a) ecosystem services (with focus on extraction of living and non-living resources); b) pollution; c) governance; and d) climate change impacts (including ocean acidification).
Impacts of Global Warming on Coastal and Marine Ecosystems in the Northwest Pacific
Initiated by NOWPAP and sponsored by the Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN), the project “Impacts of Global Warming on Coastal and Marine Ecosystems in the Northwest Pacific” has been completed recently. Led by Professor Sukgeun Jung from Jeju National University, the experts from China, Japan, Korea and Russia conducted in 2012-2014 retrospective analysis of climate and oceanographic data collected during the past 40 years. The experts tried to forecast changes in potential production and habitat ranges of major commercial fish species and tried also to evaluate risks and vulnerabilities, induced by climate change, in fishery-dependent sectors of economy across NOWPAP countries.
The project confirmed that a strong climatically induced ecosystem regime shift has occurred in the NOWPAP region in the late 1980s. The project found also that the habitat ranges of five of the several commercially important fish species examined (Horse mackerel, Pacific sardine, Common squid, Spanish mackerel and Yellowtail), will shift 20-70 km northward between the years of 2000 and 2030. It was concluded that the distribution range of large pelagic species will be more affected by ocean warming comparing with small pelagic species.
It is expected that artisanal and coastal fisheries will become less competitive than industrialized fisheries in adapting to possible climate–driven range shifts. Therefore, more attention should be paid to artisanal, small-scale fisheries while developing fisheries policies related to climate change adaptation in the region.
Last updated 24 July 2014
More information at http://www.nowpap.org/