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SFOS Journeys

Gordon Kruse

Travel Report, Korea
October 18-30, 2009

During October 18-30, 2009, I traveled to the Republic of Korea. During the first two days (October 20-21) I visited with the Korean National Fisheries Research and Development Institute (NFRDI) in Busan. I was invited by Dr. Chang Ik Zhang of Pukyong National University and hosted by Dr. Jae Bong Lee of NFRDI. I gave an invited presentation, titled "The Demise of the Red King Crab Fishery off Kodiak Island, Alaska and its Failure to Recover."

Dr. Jae Bong Lee and Dr. Gordon Kruse.

Dr. Jae Bong Lee and Dr. Gordon Kruse.

This presentation covered the doctoral research of my student, Bill Bechtol, who graduated in May 2009. This work has resulted in three publications – two are already published and the last one is currently undergoing review. My talk was very well received and there were many insightful questions. While there, I also toured the NFRDI facilities in Busan and learned about their new initiatives to rebuild their depleted fish stocks through more conservative fishery management measures, such as biologically based total allowable catches, marine ranching, artificial and natural habitat restoration, and other ecosystem-based approaches.

The primary purpose of my travel was to attend the annual meeting of the North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES) in Jeju. During this time, I attended a pre-meeting workshop on fisheries bycatch as well as daily topic sessions during the meeting. I was extremely heavily involved in the annual meeting. I convened three science sessions: (1) a full-day session, titled "Ecosystem-based approaches for the assessment of fisheries under data-limited situations", (2) a full-day session, titled "Early life stages of marine resources as indicators of climate variability and ecosystem resilience", and (3) a full-day contributed paper session of the Fishery Science Committee (FIS). In addition, I gave an oral presentation, titled "Factors leading to stock collapse of Kodiak red king crabs and their failure to recover", which was a shortened version of the more comprehensive seminar that I presented the week before to NFRDI. Afterwards, I received many compliments on my talk. Finally, I co-chaired a half-day meeting of the Fishery Science Committee (FIS) on which I am the vice-chairman and past chairman. The FIS committee is composed of three national delegates from each of the six PICES member nations. The FIS meeting went smoothly and among other actions we planned the FIS-sponsored topic sessions for the next PICES annual meeting to be held in October 2010 in Portland, Oregon. Prior to my departure from Korea, I prepared and submitted an 8-page annual report of the FIS committee deliberations to the PICES Science Board for publication in the PICES Annual Report.

FIS Chairman Dr. Stepanenko and Vice-Chairman Dr. Kruse

FIS Chairman Dr. Stepanenko and Vice-Chairman Dr. Kruse

My travel to Korea provided multiple benefits to the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), as well as more broadly to Alaska. First, oral presentations, such as mine, at PICES provide significant, positive international exposure for the university. As one result, we have attracted some excellent Asian graduate students (e.g., Naoki Tojo, Caihong Fu) to UAF, as well as visiting Asian scientists (e.g., Chang Ik Zhang), as a direct result of my participation at PICES meetings. At this particular meeting, I identified an outstanding Korean master's student with interests to pursue a PhD at UAF.

Second, publications in prestigious fisheries journals directly result from my participation in PICES meetings. A good example includes the special issue of the journal Fisheries Research (Vol. 100, Issue 1), published in September 2009, titled "Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries: Improvements on traditional management for declining and depleted stocks". I was the lead (managing) editor with co-editors from Korea, Japan, Russia, and Canada. Moreover, I co-authored two papers in that special issue, one titled, "Rebuilding of depleted fish stocks through an ecosystem approach to fisheries" with both a Korean and Japanese co-author and the other titled, "Reconstruction of historical abundance and recruitment of red king crab during 1960–2004 around Kodiak, Alaska" with my PhD student, Bill Bechtol. This special issue was a direct result of a special topic session that I convened at the PICES 2007 annual meeting in Victoria, British Columbia. We are currently pursuing with a journal the possibility of publishing another special issue based on a topic session that I convened during this year's PICES meeting (Ecosystem-based approaches for the assessment of fisheries under data-limited situations).

Third, my participation in PICES affords me the opportunity to encourage topic sessions at annual meetings that reflect, in part, the interests of Alaska. For instance, at the 2010 meeting, topic sessions will cover: (1) shifts in species distributions and ecological interactions as a result of climate change (an extremely important topic in the Bering Sea and Arctic Oceans), (2) role of maternity and reproductive strategies on fisheries sustainability (particularly important for rockfish fishery management in Alaska), and (3) economics of marine aquaculture interactions with wild capture fisheries (relevant to salmon enhancement programs in Alaska). All three topics should attract interests of UAF faculty, graduate students, and other marine scientists working in Alaska. Moreover, again, we will hold a FIS contributed paper session, that is very popular with graduate students to present their research in areas different than the topic sessions.

Dr. Jae Bong Lee and Dr. Gordon Kruse.

Dr. Jae Bong Lee and Dr. Gordon Kruse.

Fourth, as a direct result of this trip to Korea, I was invited to collaborate in cutting-edge research with Dr. Chang Ik Zhang of Pukyong National University (Korea) to develop a new integrated fisheries risk assessment and management system for marine ecosystems (IFRAME). This winter, I will work with Dr. Zhang on a manuscript for submission to an international fisheries journal. The IFRAME approach has already attracted much attention internationally as a result of PICES presentations; it has already been implemented with several applications in both the Northwest and Northeast Pacific Ocean. It is an honor to be asked to coauthor what I think will become a seminal paper on this new pragmatic approach to risk assessment. I intend to develop a research proposal to further research on this approach.

Finally, I will use material from the annual PICES meeting in future graduate course development. Presentations on new research on marine ecosystems and fisheries of the Northwest Pacific will be useful to my classes on marine ecosystems and fisheries management. I have used some previous material from PICES meetings in my classes already. Such new research in the Northwest Pacific Ocean enriches the student's learning experience by exposing them to marine ecosystems that are considerably different than those in Alaska including the consequences of less conservative fishery management strategies; much of the information on these Asian ecosystems is not readily accessible in the scientific literature written in English.

My travel was funded by the National Science Foundation through a grant administered by Oregon State University.