Ocean Science Journal

, Volume 44, Issue 1, pp 43–60 | Cite as

Contrast in life histories of exploited fishes and ecosystem structures in coastal waters off west Canada and east Korea

  • Gordon A. McFarlane
  • Chang Ik Zhang
  • Jacquelynne R. King
  • Suam Kim
  • Richard J. Beamish
  • Jae Ho Oh


By reviewing the history of fishery exploitation in the coastal waters of west Canada and east Korea, related with contrasting life history strategies of the dominant species, the fishery management challenges that each country would face in the upcoming decades were outlined. In the ecosystem of the Canadian western coastal waters, the dominant oceanographic feature is the coastal upwelling domain off the west coast of Vancouver Island, the northernmost extent of the California Current System in the eastern North Pacific. In the marine ecosystem of the eastern coasts of Korea (the Japan/East Sea), a major oceanographic feature is the Tsushima Warm Current, a branch of the Kuroshio Current in the western North Pacific. Fishes in the Canadian ecosystem are dominated by demersal, long-lived species such as flatfish, rockfish, sablefish, and halibut. During summer, migratory pelagic species such as Pacific hake, Pacific salmon, and recently Pacific sardine, move into this area to feed. In the late 1970s, Canada declared jurisdiction for 200 miles from their coastline, and major fisheries species in Canadian waters have been managed with a quota system. The overall fishing intensity off the west coast of Vancouver Island has been relatively moderate compared to Korean waters. Fishes in the ecosystem of the eastern Korean waters are dominated by short-lived pelagic and demersal fish. Historically, Korea has shared marine resources in this area with neighbouring countries, but stock assessments and quotas have only recently (since the late-1990s) been implemented for some major species. In the Korean ecosystem, fisheries can be described as intensive, and many stocks have been rated as overfished. The two ecosystems responded differently to climate impacts such as regime shifts under different exploitation histories. In the future, both countries will face the challenge of global warming and subsequent impacts on ecosystems, necessitating developing adaptive fisheries management plans. The challenges will be contrasting for the two countries: Canada will need to conserve fish populations, while Korea will need to focus on rebuilding depleted fish populations.

Key words

Canadian Pacific waters Japan/East Sea ecosystem comparison climate change life histories of fishes fisheries management 


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Copyright information

© Korea Ocean Research & Development Institute (KORDI) and the Korean Society of Oceanography (KSO) and Springer Netherlands 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gordon A. McFarlane
    • 1
  • Chang Ik Zhang
    • 2
  • Jacquelynne R. King
    • 1
  • Suam Kim
    • 3
  • Richard J. Beamish
    • 1
  • Jae Ho Oh
    • 4
  1. 1.Pacific Biological Station, Fisheries and OceansNanaimoCanada
  2. 2.Division of Marine Production System and ManagementPukyong National UniversityBusanKorea
  3. 3.Department of Marine BiologyPukyong National UniversityBusanKorea
  4. 4.Department of Environmental Atmospheric SciencesPukyong National UniversityBusanKorea

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