Marine Biodiversity, Healthy Ecosystems, Seafood Security and Safety

Project Overview

Healthy marine ecosystems provide us with a rich source of food and income, and support species that serve as animal feed, fertilizers for crops. IOC/WESTPAC has been assisting member states in Asia and the Pacific in improving the knowledge on several hotspot issues associated with the health of marine ecosystems.

IOC/WESTPAC has been running one regional harmful algae bloom project since 1990s in order to understand the biological, biochemical and ecological nature of harmful algae and the events caused by them through the establishment of regional expert network, sharing of scientific knowledge and conduct of a series of “training through research” activities.

Complementing various national and regional conservation efforts on coral reefs, IOC/WESTPAC initiated one coral reef project since 2009 aiming to understand the biogeochemistry and ecological nature of coral reefs in the region with differing physical and environmental settings. With identified critical regional issues affecting the health of coral reefs, IOC/WESTPAC has organized the first training activity on “sedimentary impact on Coral Reef” in 2010 and the second training will be conducted on “water quality and coral reef” in 2011.

In view of economic and ecosystem threat posed by some invasive species recently, IOC/WESTPAC started since 2008, the development of research network, identification of the regional status and raising the public awareness of marine non-indigenous species through the transfer of technology on the rapid assessment survey methodology for detecting marine non-indigenous species in collaboration with the North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES).

To promote the application of high technology in the protection and management of marine environment, IOC/WESTPAC recently attempts to use remote sensing for coastal habitat mapping in the region in order to grasp present spatial distributions of coastal habitats, provide baseline information for managers and to enhance the awareness of general public on how their coastal habitats are changing under human activities and climate change.