Historical Significant Adverse Impact Assessments of the North Pacific Fisheries Commission Members
During preparatory conferences of the North Pacific Fisheries Commission the negotiating Parties self-assessed the impact of their fisheries over seamounts in the Commission area. The reports by Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation and the United States were submitted in 2008. Canada submitted its report in 2013. The seamount fisheries occurred in the Northwestern Pacific Ocean in the North Hawaiian Ridge-Emperor Seamounts area. The Northeastern Pacific Ocean fisheries occurred over some seamounts off Canada, only conducted by Canada. The Japanese reports expressed their trawl and gillnet fisheries did not have any significant adverse impacts (SAIs) on corals in the NE Pacific. The reports by Korea and Russia in the region expressed that fishing impact assessments generally lack data but their fisheries did not have SAIs on corals. Japan commented that dragging for precious corals would be the most damaging on ecosystems and would defeat the efforts of the Parties to control their impacts of fishing. They could still be covertly occurring then. The U.S. and Canadian reports cautioned that SAIs could easily occur as biodiversity can get extirpated and ecosystem function altered. Canada had a small longline fishery that did not have a SAI on the target species. All reports acknowledged caution of possible SAIs due to the vulnerable characteristics of coral fragility and slow growth. They noted that the areas of seamount fishing were a small fraction of all seamounts in the Commission area and that fishing had been small scale, thus limiting any severe impacts. While vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs) had not yet been clearly identified, the Parties recognized that corals need special attention. They adopted interim conservation measures to protect four orders of corals that have carried through to the present time.