Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis for the Yellow Sea Large Marine Ecosystem (2020)
The Yellow Sea Large Marine Ecosystem (YSLME) is one of the world’s 66 LMEs—relatively large areas of coastal ocean space of 200,000 km2 or greater delineated on the ecological criteria of bathymetry, hydrography, productivity and trophic linkages. It is one of the 22 LMEs that the Global Environment Facility (GEF) supported to assess and manage coastal and marine resources. In light of the LME approach, PR China and RO Korea developed the transboundary diagnostic analysis (TDA) of YSLME in 2007, adopted the strategic action programme (SAP) of the YSLME in 2009 and has been implementing the SAP from 2014- 2020 with support of the GEF and the UNDP through a two-phased YSLME Project serviced by the UNOPS. Updating the TDA and the adoption of the updated SAP of the YSLME as a subsidiary document of the Memorandum of Understanding between PR China and RO Korea on the post-YSLME Project arrangement are the two ambitious targets agreed at the inception period of the second phase of the YSLME Project. These are also essential instruments in sustaining regional governance of the YSLME in the coming decade. The TDA update process started in 2017 and was completed in May 2020. The 1st Meetings of the Management, Science and Technical Panel (MSTP) and Interim YSLME Commission Council (ICC), held on July 11-13, 2017 in Seoul, RO Korea, agreed to initiate the process with an evaluation of the progress of the implementation of the National Strategic Action Plan (2009-2020) (NSAP). The 1st Meeting of the Regional Working Group on governance (RWG-G), held on December 14-15, 2017 in Seoul, RO Korea, endorsed the terms of reference of the NSAP review. The review reports of NSAP implementation in the two countries were presented at the 3rd Meetings of the MSTP and ICC on March 12-14, 2019. The six Regional Working Groups (RWGs) consisting of eminent experts from both PR China and RO Korea in the areas of assessment and monitoring, habitats, fish stocks, governance, pollution reduction and sustainable mariculture were fully engaged in the update process of TDA (2007) and SAP (2009-2020). National Marine Hazard Mitigation Service (NMHMS) of the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) of PR China and the Korea Marine Environment Management Corporation (KOEM) of the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF) of RO Korea facilitated the consultation and coordination at the national level, while the Project Management Office organized a series of regional consultations to help reach consensus on the final conclusions and recommendations of the TDA update, including engagement of an international consultant to consolidate the NSAP reviews by the two countries. In assessing the primary transboundary issues in the region, it was found that challenges identified in the original TDA remain to be crucial in the coming years. These include fishing effort exceeding ecosystem carrying capacity; unsustainable mariculture; pollution and contaminants; eutrophication; change in ecosystem structure; habitat loss and degradation; and climate change. The TDA 2020 highlights microplastics, seasonal ocean acidification, broader range of climate change impacts, and changes in patterns of harmful algal blooms, possible increase in frequency of toxic algal blooms, and drifting macroalgae Sargassum as emerging issues to the YSLME that the updated SAP will need to respond in the next decade. The TDA 2020 document is not comprehensive in terms of the state of knowledge of the YSLME, but does reflect the current understanding of priority problems in the system and their causes. As such, it can be used as a reference for planning any future interventions at either national or regional level.
22 Oct 2020