The Yellow Sea is a large shallow productive sea between mainland China and the Korean Peninsula. It covers an area of 400,000 km2 with 600 million people living in its coastal areas. The Yellow Sea is one of the most heavily exploited marine ecosystems in the world. Pollution and contaminants resulting from human activities, eutrophication, toxic blooms of harmful marine organisms, jellyfish blooms, overfishing, unsustainable mariculture, habitat loss and degradation have all imposed pressures on the Yellow Sea.
Scientists, policymakers, representatives from international organizations and non-governmental organizations gathered in a Science Conference organized by the Yellow Sea Large Marine Ecosystems Project in Qingdao, China in July 2019 to explore ways to address marine environmental protection and sustainable development of the Yellow Sea. The Conference hosted four events on fisheries, biodiversity, marine litter and microplastics, and nutrients.
The Northwest Pacific Action Plan was invited to the Science Conference. In the marine litter session, Ning Liu, Programme Officer of the Northwest Pacific Action Plan introduced the progress and lessons learned of the Northwest Pacific Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter. He highlighted that sharing of best practices among Member States helped the region address litter originating from member nations. Although many reports have been published, and a series of meetings have been organized, there are still challenges in addressing marine litter, including the lack of engagement of the private sector.
In the session on nutrients, Liu introduced the effectiveness of the Northwest Pacific Eutrophication Assessment Tool. In the biodiversity session, Takafumi Yoshida from the Special Monitoring and Coastal Environmental Assessment Reginal Activity Centre introduced the achievements of the Northwest Pacific Action Plan in conserving biodiversity, and informed the participants that a Regional Action Plan on Marine Biodiversity Conservation is under development.