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On October 15–24, 1994, little more than a week after a major earthquake (8.2) struck just 90 km to the east, the North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES) held its Third Annual Meeting in Nemuro, northern Hokkaido, Japan. The conference center where the meeting was to be held suffered significant damage, but thanks to the prodigious efforts of the people of Nemuro, we convened in the city library and neighboring buildings. More than 200 participants from Canada, China, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia, and the United States experienced daily aftershocks, as they discussed major scientific questions of the subarctic Pacific ocean.

Many of the papers presented concerned the impact of climate-scale variations in atmospheric and oceanic conditions on ecosystems of the region. A series of review papers on oceanography of the subarctic Pacific introduced a workshop, cosponsored by the Science and Technology Agency of Japan, that led to recommendations for monitoring changes in both physical forcing and ecosystem response.