The Fourth CEARAC Expert Meeting

The Fourth CEARAC Expert Meeting was held in Toyama, Japan on 24 August 2015. The nominated experts for current CEARAC activities, CEARAC Focal Points (FPs), representatives of NOWPAP Regional Coordinating Unit (RCU), NOWPAP Pollution Monitoring Regional Activity Centre (POMRAC) and North-East Asian Subregional Programme for Environmental Cooperation (NEASPEC) attended the meeting.

In the 2014-2015 biennium, CEARAC is implementing three major activities on marine biodiversity, eutrophication and seagrass. Experts on these working areas in each NOWPAP member state were nominated by the CEARAC FPs at the beginning of the current biennium, and they have implemented the tasks stated in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which CEARAC concluded with the experts, including presenting the interim reports of their tasks in the Fourth CEARAC Expert Meeting.

For the activity on pilot assessment on the impacts of major threats to marine biodiversity, the selected target sea areas are: Coastal area of Yantai and Dalian in China; North Kyushu sea area and coastal area of Hokuriku region in Japan; Saemanguem area in Korea; and Peter the Great Bay in Russia. The experts collected available data on the three major threats, namely eutrophication, non-indigenous species and habitat alternation, and assessed the current status of them. Based on the results of the pilot assessments, CEARAC will develop a regional report by the end of 2015.

In the 2012-2013 biennium, CEARAC implemented eutrophication assessment in the selected sea areas in each NOWPAP member state. Based on the results and experiences of this activity, the area of eutrophication assessment was extended to the entire NOWPAP region in the 2014-2015 biennium by trial application of the screening procedure of the NOWPAP Common Procedure. The screening procedure is an initial diagnosis to detect symptoms of eutrophication with data on trend of chemical oxygen demand (COD), occurrences of red tides and chlorophyll-a concentration.

CEARAC is now developing a web GIS map prototype to shoe the results of the trail application of the screening procedure. The web GIS map will be constructed on the Marine Environmental Watch Project in the CEARAC websites by the end of 2015 and will be open to the public.

The third activity is case studies on seagrass mapping in the selected sea areas in the NOWPAP region. At the beginning of the current biennium, CEARAC developed a manual for seagrass and seaweed beds distribution mapping with satellite images. Then, case studies were implemented in the following sea areas: Swan Lake in China; Nanao Bay and Toyama Bay in Japan; Jangheung Bay in Korea; and Srednyaya Bay in the Peter the Greta Bay in Russia. With the analysis of satellite images and in-situ observation, the areas of seagrass beds were spotted in the selected areas. Case study results will be uploaded on the CEARAC websites which may be overlaid on other habitat maps, and at the same time, a case study report will be developed by the end of 2015.

Based on the discussion after presentations, CEARAC will complete the three activities by the end of 2015 as planned. The interim reports presented in this expert meeting were reviewed again in the 13th CEARAC Focal Points Meeting (FPM) held on the following days (25-26 August) while discussing a draft workplan of CEARAC activities for the 2016-2017 biennium.

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