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PICES: 30 Years of International Intergovernmental Marine Science

Updated: Mar 24, 2022

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Thank you to all who have contributed your fond memories of PICES! Please keep your submissions coming - we'll focus on our anniversary celebrations at PICES-2022! See you in Busan!


There are so many things that make PICES special and not enough space to do them justice. I've heard many people say its a family and that for me is the over-riding feeling, a community of people who work together in friendship and with passion, despite large distances, language and cultural differences, to further our understanding of the North Pacific. I've chosen two pictures, one from my first PICES meeting in 1998 where I am sitting with the PICES founder Warren Wooster and members of the Secretariat. I've also chosen an image from a sporting event at PICES-2017 which symbolizes for me the friendships that have been made and maintained through PICES. Happy 30th Birthday PICES, Warren would be proud to see the organization you've become!

~Sonia Batten, PICES Executive Secretary


CLIVAR congratulates PICES for its successful 30-year anniversary

The Ocean and Climate: Variability, Predictability and Change (CLIVAR) project and PICES have demonstrated long-time successful cooperation covering various thematical areas, from large-scale climate variability and change, to meso/submesoscale processes and regional climate models, to more interdisciplinary effort on the climate and ecosystem changes. PICES is an important player in the marine science community, and made tremendous contribution to promote the international marine science collaboration in the North Pacific during the past decades. ​We appreciate the collaboration with PICES through the previous working groups, and we also recognize the increasing needs of collaborations across science organizations with emerging focuses, e.g., the climate extremes and coastal impacts. We are looking forward to continuing the science adventures jointly with PICES in the North Pacific region and linking to broader global communities and societal needs in the future.

CLIVAR wishes PICES a happy 30th Anniversary!

A joint workshop between CLIVAR Pacific Region Panel and PICES Working Group 40 took place in Victoria, Canada during 2019 PICES Annual Meeting



My duty as FUTURE Co-Chair and Science Board Chair could not have been done without the professional skills of PICES Secretariat members. Alex's enthusiasm, Skip's humor, Robin's thoughtfulness, Hal's extensive experience in scientific activities always supported me in the overcrowded schedule of the Annual Meeting. After the discussions at the Science Board meeting, which sometime continued late into the night, my brain ceased to function. Rosalie attended SB meeting all day and then prepared a draft report to the Governing Council by her overnight work with Hal. In a quiet room in the early morning of the final day of Annual Meeting, I received the draft with admiration. What a patience and dedication! Rosalie's quiet smile, which was always in the corner of the meeting room, made me feel relaxed. I would like to show my deep respect for the dedication of the secretariat members.

~ Hiroaki Saito

Thank you for these kind words Hiroaki, the Secretariat is very appreciative. We really enjoy working with you too! ~ Sonia Batten


PICES has been a foundational institution for engagement and exchange at the international level for so many marine scientists. I started with PICES in the ICES/PICES Early Career Scientist conference and have participated in more than 20 annual science meetings, symposiums, and working group sessions in the last decade. This is a group that, above all, fosters relationships. That leads to trust, collaboration, partnership, and exchange – all so critical to understanding ocean dynamics at broader scales. It’s also a product-oriented institution that provides such a unique a forum for directed work and concentrated effort. PICES provides avenues for discipline- and area-specific discussions, data exchange, synthesis across systems, and the development of publications and it produces content through iterative engagement and directed tasks. It works because of the efforts of so many committed professionals. It works because of a phenomenal staff. So many of the mentors I greatly respect have dedicated their energies to PICES throughout their careers and so many of the early career scientists I see leading the future seem to secure their footing there. It is always great to see so many friends at these events. I have learned much at PICES and am grateful to have had the opportunity to engage with so many dedicated and talented colleagues throughout the Pacific. Photo: North Pacific Ecosystem Status Report Working Group Synthesis Meeting, Yokohama, Japan, April 2019

~Matthew Baker


My first exposure to the PICES community was as a graduate student attending the 15th Annual Meeting in Yokohama, and as I look back on those memories, I realize that I can proudly state that I have been engaged with the organization for the majority of its tenure. Discussions with PICES colleagues over the years have offered me glimpses of the Pacific Ocean from such diverse perspectives that together have enriched my personal attempts to better understand the ecosystem. The contributions of the PICES community have been impressive, as are the ways its scientific focus evolves as our understanding of the ocean and its relationships with broader the earth system shifts through time. However, what strikes me most about the PICES community is the overwhelming hospitality of colleagues from around the Pacific basin who have shared their culture in addition to their science. The influence that PICES has had in shaping my personal and oceanographic life cannot be overstated, and I’m so grateful to be part of a supportive community where friendship and ideas are exchanged freely across disciplines and borders.

~Ryan Rykaczewski


From Dr. Vera Trainer, SB Chair ~ on PICES 30-year celebration Many years ago when I was still contemplating my career focus, I explored my options for becoming either a musician or a scientist. I sat alongside the music majors in the flute section of the orchestra, while also becoming engrossed in studies of plant biology, comparative anatomy and microbiology. Honestly, I did not know how any experience in science could possibly match that feeling of all the instruments in a symphony playing together, perfectly tuned, with great harmony and fellowship. The swell of that orchestral crescendo seemed unmatched in the scientific world. As great as my experiences were in music, I felt that the career choices were limited, so I turned toward a future in science. But as the years went on, I searched for that feeling of harmony that music had taught me. I wanted to find a way to recreate the collaboration of individual players working toward a common goal. The partnerships and friends that I have found through PICES have fulfilled that dream. Whether hosting a student from Japan, China, Russia or Korea in my lab, writing a successful proposal with PICES partners, or exploring new friendships in Guatemala, Indonesia or the Republic of the Philippines, PICES has provided the opportunity that I could only have dreamed of those many years ago. The Annual PICES Meetings have provided a space for fellowship, a friendly atmosphere for discussing ideas with world experts, and a home away from home to be with my scientific family. PICES is a place where politics are put aside, where new friends are made, and where the world becomes a place of unity toward a common goal – the exploration and understanding of our ocean environment. PICES is a symphony where each player makes the music of science resonate with a crescendo of fellowship and discovery.


From Pengbin Wang:

Wishes and Misses

Wish the COVID-19 pandemic fast end,

Wish everyone healthy,

Wish world peace,

Wish daily life wonderful.

Miss long lost friends,

Miss far-away relatives,

Miss former colleagues,

Miss colourful old days.

Memories of working together, S-HAB:

Meeting of S-HAB at PICES-2020, Zoom Meeting.

Meeting of S-HAB at PICES-2021, Zoom Meeting:


Best wishes for PICES 30th anniversary!

During our 20 + 14 years at ICES secretariat we have worked with PICES colleagues on several occasions. Nearly all contact has been via e-mail, due to the distance between our two Secretariats. Thus, it was a pleasure to finally meet the faces behind e-mail addresses at the 4th International Symposium on Climate Change Effects on the Worlds Oceans (ECCWO) in Washington DC in June 2018.

ICES staff shared the office with PICES, and it soon turned out that we were getting along great, not only as colleagues but also as individuals. It was a busy week workwise, but we kept the spirits up in our small office, and a couple of times we got to take advantage of the beautiful Washington spring weather and step out for a coffee or a walk.

After the symposium we’ve continued working with PICES on different projects, strictly online for the past two years for obvious reasons. We look forward to our good cooperation in the future, and hope to meet our colleagues again in person, if not earlier, at the latest at ICES PICES Conference in October 2023 in Seattle, USA!

~ Vivian Piil, Science Departmental Officer

~ Terhi Minkkinen, Communications Officer International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) Secretariat, Copenhagen, Denmark


From Vladimir Radchenko: Attendance at 24 of 29 PICES annual meetings and a dozen symposia and workshops gave me an opportunity to give thirty-one talks, including the keynote lecture at the 2005 Annual Meeting in Vladivostok, seventeen posters, co-author 23 scientific articles and book chapters, and to participate in scientific discussions on myriad issues of current concern for fishery science. My work on different PICES subsidiary bodies, including six working and study groups, three committees, one advisory panel, Science Board, and Governing Council, gave me priceless experience and provided me with a broader perspective and a better understanding of the fishery science in the framework ecosystem-based management. In September 2003, I was asked to represent PICES at the 26th SCOR (Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research) Executive Committee Meeting in Moscow. At this meeting, my report covered PICES cooperation with GLOBEC, ESSAS, JGOFS, SOLAS, work within frames of the GEOHAB and CLIVAR programs, and activities of a mutual working group and advisory panel. Preparing for this talk (honestly speaking it was mostly prepared by the PICES Secretariat) acquainted me with new organizations and programs. It was like reaching out to distant relatives that broadened my incentives by feeling part of a big marine science family. Co-chairing the REX Task Team and chairmanship in BIO served to improve my administrative skills, and soon thereafter I accepted the proposal to lead the fisheries research institute on Sakhalin Island, a move that drastically changed the path of my scientific life.

Participation in PICES activities helped me to promote my own scientific ideas. Considering how to approach analysis of Bering Sea pelagic ecosystem dynamics, I noted that the general current pattern in the upper pelagic layer that was compiled by professional oceanographers varied in the 1960s–1990s. In the central part of the sea, the core element of water circulation—the major westbound current—was depicted either flowing in a straight latitudinal direction or flowing northwesterly along the continental slope and shelf edge, or in some intermediate position. Correspondingly, even the name of this current has changed in scientific articles over time: from the Cross-Basin Current to the Central Bering Sea Current and to the Bering Sea Slope Current. In the oceanographic literature, these distinctions were interpreted as inaccuracies due to lack of data and challenges in measurement. Owing to the absence of data collected simultaneously for large marine regions, it was popular among Russian oceanographers to build a general current pattern by summarizing information based on a data series that was as long as possible. In the 1990s, many water circulation studies proudly proclaimed that the data series used summarized fifty years, or more. In contrast, although famous oceanographers had a point by using these long data series, I hypothesized each of them summarized their own study period, when position of the westbound flow varied based on the intensity of Pacific water inflow into the Bering Sea. I began to study atmospheric drivers of underlying ocean circulation but still could not explain the fluctuations of Pacific water advection into the Bering Sea. Physical oceanographers criticized my hypothesis, and one of them commented, “Islands at sea are not able to move, therefore major sea currents will be stable in their positions forever”.

In starting to communicate with foreign colleagues in the PICES Working Group on the Bering Sea, I learned of Warren Wooster’s hypothesis on decadal-scale variability in the eastern subarctic Pacific (Wooster, W. S. and A. B. Hollowed. 1991. Decadal scale changes in the northeast Pacific Ocean. Northwest Environmental Journal 7(2): 361-363). The information started to come together all at once. I knew about decadal-scale variability in the north and south separation of the Subarctic Current at the west coast of North America was affected by climatic variability of atmospheric pressure fields. And it became clear to me why intensity of relatively warm Pacific water advection into the Bering Sea varied. Continuing analysis in this direction, I was able to properly ground my understandings on changes in the Bering Sea pelagic ecosystem during the 1989 regime shift. After publishing this idea, several marine biologists found explanations for the variability in the stock condition of their research subjects in the Bering Sea and began citing the paper, sometimes attributing this idea to…professional oceanographers. Nevertheless, the main thing is that the idea was implemented.

As a PICES scientist, I was happy to share many remarkable scientific projects with my colleagues worldwide, including journeys to ESSAS, NOWPAP, and ACIA. The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) initiative, which first published its report in 2005, was an excellent example of comprehensive multi-disciplinary assessments and forecasts of the consequences of climate change in the Arctic, including not only fisheries but also environmental, human health, social, cultural, and economic issues. I was so excited to participate in writing a chapter on fisheries and aquaculture for this 1042-page scientific report that, after electronic publication, I organized printing of five copies for libraries of Russian fishery research institutes. Now young scientists prefer reading scientific literature from a computer screen, and the ACIA report is fortunately still available at

PICES helped to organize the activity of the North Pacific Research Board (NPRB). In 2003, the Science Board recommended me, as BIO Chairman, to the National Research Council (NRC) Study Committee to participate in writing the First NPRB Science Plan (Shapiro, L. et al. Elements of a science plan for the North Pacific Research Board. NRC, National Academy Press, 125 pp.). This scientific document, drafted by our close-knit team of scientists and science managers in 2004, has remained topical and largely relevant for the second decade of NPRB activities.

In its turn, it is remarkable that the NPRB has notably assisted NPAFC in implementing the Commission’s science plans. The NPAFC appreciates the NPRB’s generous support for two scientific projects: Salmon Tagging in 2002-2003 and Genetic Stock Identification in 2003-2006. NPRB’s contribution has assisted in the invitation of salmon experts from NPAFC-member countries to the International Symposium on Pacific Salmon and Steelhead Production in a Changing Climate: the Past, Present, and Future on May 17-19, 2015, in Kobe, Japan, and to the Second IYS (International Year of Salmon) Scoping Meeting in Vancouver on March 15-17, 2016. This looks to me like a nice example of how we can benefit in the future from our efforts in the past.

PICES never shies away from salmon. Myself with PICES Deputy Executive Secretary on Administration Christina Chiu at the 2002 PICES Annual Meeting reception. Photo credit: PICES Secretariat.

Myself (Vladimir Radchenko) delivering the keynote lecture at the 2005 PICES Annual Meeting in Vladivostok. Photo credit: NPAFC Secretariat.

PICES Science Board hears reports by representatives of the international organizations on ongoing and prospective cooperative projects at the 2016 Annual Meeting in San Diego. Photo credit: PICES Secretariat.


Photos From Chang Zhang:


From Nianzhi Jiao:


To PICES and all ‘PICEanS’

Congratulations on 30 years of promoting communications and understanding around the North Pacific! May our personal friendships be always strong.

~Ian Perry


From Juri Hori: From Hiroshima, Japan: PICES Section Human Dimensions Members (2012)


I agree with role of the Optimism and trust in PICES family referred by Dr. Enrique Curchitser, PICES Chair. I would like to add the fact that the optimism and trust in PICES family has been strong enough to create many driving horses for each activity wagon. I hope many young driving horses may grow up within PICES family. Who are the next driving horses for the Fifth PICES Workshop on the Okhotsk Sea and adjacent areas? ~Makoto Kashiwai


I can honestly say that I’ve grown up (professionally) within PICES. I attended the very first PICES Annual Meeting, in Victoria BC in 1992, as an early career researcher. (Very early.) I recall what may have been the first POC meeting there, where Warren Wooster differentiated the PICES and ICES domains by referring to the Atlantic as “that poor, pathetic, twisted little ocean”. I was hooked. I have been to many PICES meetings since and have been able to contribute to the organization in a number of capacities. There is an entire cohort of scientists that I’ve grown professionally with over the past 30 years. While I am impressed by, and very proud of, the great science that PICES has done over the years, I feel most fortunate to have been able to work alongside all of these wonderful people. And it has been extremely gratifying to watch my colleagues develop, professionally and personally, over the years. PICES will always be my ‘home community’. I have so many good memories from all the PICES meetings over the years – perhaps I’ll need to write an extended report – with photos – after I retire. (Maybe a PICES Special Publication?) While I would like to say that a particular lecture or workshop was most memorable to me, it is the social events, and especially the sporting events, that have stuck in my memory. The broken bones at the curling rink; the ax throwing (is that really a sport?); the bar-hopping during the 2016 U.S. election (definitely not a sport!); and the dragon boat races, which the Russians were very well prepared for. And of course all of the wonderful receptions and meals, and sampling the wonderful hospitality and beautiful sights that each country has offered. These memories capture the great spirit and camaraderie of PICES.

~ Steven Bograd


My first PICES meeting was in Vladivostok, 2017. I was not sure how the whole organization worked, and I knew very few attendees at the time. Despite feeling a bit intimidated, I ended up having a wonderful time and came to see how close-knit and approachable the PICES community really is. What a great organization for international scientific collaboration! I have since become a member of TCODE, and enjoyed meetings in Japan, Canada, and more recently online. I am grateful for being a member of PICES and hope to continue working with this wonderful international science community for years to come! ~Jeanette Gann


It was my first time to attend the PICES meeting in 2014. The meeting presents a wonderful platform for scientists from north pacific countries. We can build some co-operations based on this governmental leading organization. Congratulate to celebrate 30th anniversary. Wish we can get more productions from PICES in future. ~Xinfeng Dai


I want to introduce PICES’s contributions to the many scientific activities for the recovery from the damages by the Great East Japan Earthquake. PICES and ICES offered the research fund for the Japanese studies on the marine ecosystems and fisheries immediately after the earthquake occurred on 11th March, 2011. 11 projects were implemented as very early stages of the research on the effects by the earthquake to the coastal ecosystem of Japan. After these programs had been completed, many of them developed to next stages of the program using big budget from Japanese government and others. PICES also organized the project of “Assessing the Debris -Related Impacts From the Tsunami” from 2014 to 2017 funded by the Ministry of the Environment of Japan. From these PICES activities, lots of scientific papers has been publishing about the Great East Japan Earthquake, and they contribute as important information for not only ocean science but also disaster reconstruction of Japanese society. Thank you. Hiro Sugisaki, FRA, Japan


From Yang Liu: Congratulate to celebrate 30th anniversary, and very thanks for collecting our thoughts and images in working with PICES. My most impressive moment in PICES was in 2013 Annual Meeting, 13-21, October, 2013, Nanaimo, Canada. When I was a post-doctoral in Hokkaido University under supervisor, Sei-Ichi Saitoh, and I got my first FIS Committee Best Poster Award in PICES. I am very grateful to PICES for their encouragement, which has made me gradually grow up on the road of science. Now I work at Ocean University of China as a young professor, and continue to explore and guide students. LIU Yang Ph.D Professor, College of Fisheries, Ocean University of China


My first PICES meeting was in 1999 in Vladivostok, which led to my attending many subsequent meetings and developing numerous cross-disciplinary research collaborations and publications with PICES scientists. Here's a photo from that meeting with Josef Cherniawsky, Nate Mantua, Larry Jacobson and me, which was shot by Steve Hare, as we tried to navigate the city one evening. ~ Art Miller


Another PICES-Halloween theme photo: Witchy-Curler at the sports event of PICES 2007 in Victoria. ~ Sanae Chiba

Because many PICES related meetings coincided with Halloween week, it is no wonder I dug out some PICES photos featuring a Halloween party. Most memorable is the one at Dr. Beamish's house in 2011, where the best dresser prize went to the person in Salmon lice costume. I was really impressed by her hand-made dress, and the fact that almost all of the participants immediately recognised it as "salmon lice". I love this community, really!! (Photos: me in gothic fashion and the best dresser winner in the salmon lice costume at the Halloween party in Nanaimo 2011. ~ Sanae Chiba

30 yrs old... we are still young and growing. Look at how PICES women scientists have been thriving for these 10 yrs! Photo: the MONITOR Beauties at PICES 2012 in Hiroshima, Japan (heavily Photoshopped by Japanese "Kawaii girl" photo booth). From left to right: Sonia Batten, Jennifer Boldt and Sanae Chiba. ~ Sanae Chiba


As a three year member in PICES, I have personally enjoyed working with my study group and working group members so much. Dear working group 42 members, I feel so fortunate to know you all! I also love our professional and caring admin staff and it is also a lot of fun to interact with other PICES members. We communicate and learn from each other, we care about each other during the difficult times, and we all work hard to make PICES stronger. I look forward to serve more and get to know more family members in the future.


ChengJun Sun, Senior Research Scientist,

Marine Bioresource and Environment Research Center

First Institute of Oceanography


It was just like yesterday when I walked into the office of PICES Secretariat as an intern, although a decade has passed. What is worth mentioning is it was absolutely my most cherished and happy moments to be as a part of the PICES Family. Just like Victoria in summer, PICES is a wonderful place to find warm friendships and inspiring views. To CAFS ( Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences), PICES is one of the most important communication platforms and training centers, especially for young scientists. With numerous achievements in 30 years, PICES is still a growing and spirited organization. I am confidently expecting PICES to play a more crucial role in promoting the development of Marine Science, and balancing the human-nature relationship.

Prof. Ma Zhuojun

Director of Division of International Cooperation, Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences

Executive Secretary of International Fisheries Research Center


Photos from Caren Marcelo:

Four Generations of OSU in PICES:

PICES OSU Group photo:



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