Since 2001, the Environment Ministry and the Northwest Pacific Region Environmental Cooperation Center have been promoting the Marine Environmental Watch Project as a means of establishing a system to distribute marine environment data, gathered by satellites and analyzed, to NOWPAP affiliated countries and other nations.

In order to protect the Northwest Pacific Region’s marine environment, the coastal countries of Japan, China, Korea and Russia, deemed it necessary to cooperate with each other and agreed to NOWPAP (North-West Pacific Action Plan), which was promoted by UNEP in 1994.

From the authorization granted from this agreement, in 1999, CEARAC was established to develop a specialized monitoring programme by utilizing remote sensing techniques.

CEARAC is hosted by the Northwest Pacific Region Environmental Cooperation Center (NPEC), established in 1998 in Toyama, Japan, under the auspices of the Ministry of the Environment of Japan.

The Northwest Pacific Region Environmental Cooperation Center (NPEC), under contract with Japan’s Ministry of the Environment, has since the year 2000 developed and promoted the Marine Environmental Watch Project as a NOWPAP promotion project. The project’s purpose is to provide useful and basic information on marine environmental conservation by utilizing satellite remote sensing data.

NPEC began operation of its receiving ground station in March of 2002. The data received are from NOAA AVHRR, Feng Yun-1 (FY-1) Multi-channel Visible and Infrared Scan Radiometer (MVISR) and TERRA/Aqua MODIS satellite instruments, which are used for marine environment monitoring.

Measured data obtained by the receiving ground station are automatically processed for the NOWPAP region and saved in a database that may eventually be utilized in the future for baseline information. The data are accessible via the Internet and provides images of clouds, SST, Chlorophyll a concentration and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). The data are accessible by searches by measurement date, cloud cover and region. Ten-day composite images of the SST, day and night, are also available.

From 2007, the Marine Environmental Watch Project has registered as one of databases of
NEAR-GOOS (North-East Asian Regional GOOS), which is one of the regional GOOS (Global Ocean Observation System) sponsored by Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC)