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New discovery of 123 marine species in our sea for the last 4 years

Date. 2021-03-22
Hit. 85

Expected as strengthening sovereignty over marine bio-resources

and utilizing them as materials for marine bio-industry



The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF, Minister MOON, Seong-Hyeok) said that the ‘Marine Bio-Resource Deposit Registration and Preservation Agency Research and Development (MBRDRPA R&D) Project’ discovered 54 new species and 69 unrecorded species, which were first discovered in the world and Korea, respectively, and collected a total of 3,014 species in our sea for the past four years (2017-2020).


Recently the importance of managing and utilizing marine bio-resources is increasing due to the growth of marine bio-industry and the enactment of the Nagoya Protocol* (October 2014). Accordingly, MOF initiated the MBRDRPA** R&D project where 16 organizations led by the National Marine Biodiversity Institute of Korea (MABIK) participated for the 4 years from 2017 to 2020 in order to systematically secure and utilize marine bio-resources.


* Nagoya Protocol : international agreements obligating the sharing of profits and prior approval of the donor country when accessing genetic resources

** Marine Bio-Resource Deposit Registration and Preservation Agency (MBRDRPA) is designated and managed by MOF in order to secure, conserve and utilize marine bio-resources for marine bio-industry.


One of the main achievements of this project is to uncover that seahorses usually living in the South Sea is a new species (H. haema) through studies on the morphology and genetic analysis, and is different from the species (H. coronatus) discovered by Japanese scholars in 1928.


The project has also discovered a dinoflagellates (Centrodinium punctatum), which has not been reported since it was discovered as a new species found in the eastern Pacific Ocean in 1907, for the first time in the South Sea in 2018, and preserved it as only cultured stock resources in the world. The species has a strong neurotoxin and is expected to be used in the production of pharmaceuticals such as anesthetics and the production of standard material for toxin analysis.


The bio-resources acquired from this R&D project have been registered in and provided to public through the Marine Bio-Resource Information System* (MBRIS, http://mbris.kr). In particular, over the last four years, 953 marine bio-resources have been distributed to researchers in industry, academia, and research institutes, resulting in publication of 50 domestic and international papers and 4 patent applications.

In addition, this project contributed to the fields of Education. More than 2,000 students in the elementary, middle and high schools gained the awareness of the importance of marine biodiversity through various science experience classes and educational programs related to marine bio-resources. It also produced 49 marine biology experts (29 M.S. and 20 Ph.D.).


* MBRIS - an information system that collects, utilizes, and distributes data to systematically manage marine bio-resources (operated by the National Marine Biodiversity Institute of Korea)


Lim Young-hoon, director of the Marine and Fisheries Bioresources Division, MOF said “We have systematically acquired and managed domestic marine bio-resources through this R&D project. This resulted in strengthening the sovereignty of marine bio-resources and contributed to national marine bio-research through bio-resources distribution. In the future, we will continue to reinforce Korea's resource sovereignty by securing marine bio-resources”