At the 2008 PICES Annual Meeting in Dalian, China,
Dr. Stein introduced POMA and announced that the very 1st
award was unanimously voted to be given to the training
ship T/S Oshoro-maru of Hokkaido University, Japan.
Dr. Wada presented a commemorative plaque and a certificate to
the representative of the recipient, Dr. Akihiko Hara
(Dean, Graduate School of Fisheries Sciences, Hokkaido University).
The observations made aboard T/S Oshoro-maru have contributed to
the rapid progress of marine science in the region. The annual summer
cruises since 1955 have allowed long-term ecosystem observations,
and have advanced cooperative research among PICES countries. The
data collected during T/S Oshoro-maru cruises are invaluable for
addressing current scientific problems of the North Pacific. More
than 250 scientific papers have been published using these data.
For a brief history of the ship, refer to the PICES Press article
by John Bower published in 2001
(Vol. 9, No. 1).
|Science Board citation for the 2008
Significant advances in marine science are often based on ocean observations.
Long-term observations are particularly important for detecting
and understanding ecosystem change because major shifts in ecosystem
structure and function occur over long temporal periods. It is widely
recognized that these fundamental activities often lack the glamour
and respect that typically accompanies other types of scientific
achievement even though these other achievements rely on monitoring
and observation. It is unfortunate that monitoring activities are
often taken for granted and are frequently targeted for budget cuts
when countries experience financial constraints or hardships.
With this in mind, PICES recently established a new award to
recognize the sustained accomplishments of those engaged in monitoring
data management, and communication. The PICES Ocean Monitoring Service
Award (POMA) was established to recognize organizations, groups
and outstanding individuals that have contributed significantly
to the advancement of marine science in the North Pacific through
long-term ocean monitoring and data management and communication.
In January of this year, PICES announced the award and solicited
nominations for the very first POMA. The nominations were considered
in April and the Science Board was unanimous in their decision.
It is my pleasure to announce that the training ship T/S Oshoro-maru
of Hokkaido University is the first recipient of the PICES Ocean
Monitoring Service Award.
The first Oshoro-maru was built in 1909. The 31-meter
wooden topsail schooner equipped with a 63 horsepower engine was
modeled after those vessels used in the Gloucester cod fishery.
It was named for a bay on Hokkaido, Japan. The bay, then an important
fishing ground for Pacific herring, was the ship’s first home
port. In 1927, Oshoro-maru I was replaced by Oshoro-maru
II, a 42-m steel barkentine with a 500 horsepower diesel engine.
In 1955, the faculty of Hokkaido University greatly expanded their
mission both geographically and thematically, adding meteorological
observation, seawater analysis, plankton and larval fish collections,
dredging and sea surface temperature measurement. In 1955, the ship
made her first foreign port call during a North Pacific cruise to
Seattle. This was the first visit by a Japanese government ship
to the U.S. since the end of the World War II. One of the prominent
scientific accomplishments of Oshoro-maru II was Professor
Naoichi Inoue’s “marine snow” research in 1952
conducted from the submersible “Kuroshio” for which
Oshoro maru II served as the mother ship.
In 1962, Oshoro-maru III, a 67-m stern trawler with
2000 horsepower engine, was launched. She continued the important
contributions made by the faculty of Hokkaido University by increasing
monitoring activities in the North Pacific and the Bering Sea. This
led to an increase in the degree of international collaboration.
Since 1962, more than 100 scientists from outside of Japan have
participated on her cruises.
Oshoro-maru IV, the current vessel, began her tenure in 1984.
She is a 73-m stern trawler equipped with 3,200 horse power engine.
She has 13 officers and 27 crew and the capacity for 6 researchers
and 60 students. Oshoro-maru II, III and IV have made more
than 90 port calls to nearly 20 ports on her North Pacific cruises,
while primarily conducting research in the Bering Sea and North
Pacific Ocean. The sampling includes physical, chemical and biological
oceanography as well as fisheries. The data from the North Pacific
cruises have been published annually since 1957 in the Faculty of
Fisheries “Data Record of Oceanographic Observations
and Exploratory Fishing” and are now available on a CD
published by the Japan Oceanographic Data Center. Data from experimental
fishing and other associated biological sampling are being organized
in a new database that will soon be publicly available. This will
contribute to our ability to understand the response of North Pacific
marine ecosystems to climate change.
The observations made aboard Oshoro-maru have contributed
to the rapid progress of marine scientific research in the region.
The annual summer cruises since 1955 have allowed long-term ecosystem
observations, and have advanced cooperative research among PICES
countries. Through the T/S Oshoro maru, members of the Faculty of
Fisheries, Hokkaido University have actively promoted cooperative
investigations among universities and research institutes of PICES
countries, such as the University of Alaska, University of Washington,
University of Hawaii, Oregon State University, University of British
Columbia, NOAA – Alaska Fisheries Science Center, and Institute
of Ocean Sciences of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, as examples. More
than 250 scientific papers have been published using the data collected
during Oshoro-maru cruises.
The almost 50 years of hydrographic, nutrient, zooplankton,
and chlorophyll data of Hokkaido University are invaluable for addressing
current scientific problems of the North Pacific Ocean. The Faculty
of Fisheries showed great foresight in establishing their vessel
as one of the principle sampling tools of the North Pacific Ocean.
They have generously shared their ship time and observations with
the international community and today we recognize and reward their