The NPFC Scientific Committee (SC07) and its subsidiary bodies met via video conferencing from 8 to 20 December 2022

    The NPFC Scientific Committee (SC) and its subsidiary bodies met via video conferencing from 8 to 20 December 2022. The meetings were attended by the NPFC Members (Canada, China, European Union, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, Chinese Taipei, the United States of America and Vanuatu), observers from inter- and non-governmental organizations as well as invited experts.

    Two subsidiary body meetings were held before the SC meeting and discussed bottom fish and marine ecosystems, and stock assessment of Pacific saury, respectively.

    The Small Scientific Committee on Bottom Fish and Marine Ecosystems proposed revisions of the conservation and management measures for bottom fisheries and protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems (VME), discussed stock assessment and management of North Pacific armorhead, splendid alfonsino and sablefish, and reviewed the progress in VME identification and assessment of the impact of bottom fisheries on VMEs.

    The Small Scientific Committee on Pacific Saury updated stock assessment of Pacific saury using Bayesian state-space production models, noted the declining trend of the stock, discussed plans for developing age-structured models, and provided scientific advice for the management of Pacific saury stock.

    In addition, the Technical Working Group on Chub Mackerel Stock Assessment (TWG CMSA) presented to the SC the outputs of its meeting held on 5-8 September 2022.  The TWG CMSA continued the development of the operating model for chub mackerel, started testing candidate stock assessment models, and aims at conducting stock assessment of chub mackerel in 2023.

    The Scientific Committee reviewed recommendations from the subsidiary body meetings and provided scientific advice to the Commission with respect to the management of fisheries resources and protection of marine ecosystems in the NPFC Convention Area. The SC reviewed the progress of four small working groups for other priority species (neon flying squid, Japanese flying squid, Japanese sardine, blue mackerel) which worked intersessionally on data collation and species summaries. The SC revised its 5-year Research and Work Plans, addressed issues related to data collection, management and security, and discussed recent and future cooperation with other organizations to facilitate the implementation of the Work Plan.

    The meeting reports will be available on the NPFC website in February 2023. For more information visit the meeting web page or contact the NPFC Secretariat.

    The next SC meeting is tentatively scheduled to take place during December 2023 with a meeting venue to be determined at the Commission meeting in March 2023.  Additionally, the joint SC-TCC-COM Small Working Group on Management Strategy Evaluation for Pacific Saury (SWG MSE PS) will meet virtually on 28 February – 1 March to continue to develop an interim harvest control rule for Pacific saury as a short-term task and work toward a full MSE process.