By Development Communication Section / B Acosta
Representatives of the ASEAN and SEAFDEC Member Countries (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam), FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (FAO/RAP), Mekong River Commission (MRC) Fisheries Programme, Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific (NACA), Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management (SwAM), USAID Regional Development Mission for Asia (USAID RDMA) and USAID Project on Maximizing Agriculture through Knowledge, Enterprise Development, and Trade (USAID Market Project), senior officials of the Secretariat and five SEAFDEC Departments gathered together on 1-5 December 2014 in Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand for the 37th SEAFDEC Program Committee Meeting (PCM) and 17th Meeting of the Fisheries Consultative Group of the ASEAN-SEAFDEC Strategic Partnerships (FCG-ASSP). These meetings were hosted by the SEAFDEC Training Division.
SEAFDEC/AQD was represented by its Chief, Dr. Felix G. Ayson; Deputy Chief, Dr. Takuro Shibuno; Research Division (RD) Head, Dr. Ma. Junemie Hazel Lebata-Ramos; Technology Verification and Demonstration Division (TVDD) Head, Dr. Mae Catacutan; Training and Information Division (TID) Head, Dr. Evelyn Grace de Jesus-Ayson; and Special Departmental Coordinator, Ms. Belen Acosta.
During the Program Committee Meeting, SEAFDEC/AQD’s Senior Management (Chief, Deputy Chief, RD, TVDD and TID Heads) presented the progress of AQD’s Departmental and Regional Programs in 2014 and plans for 2015. The Committee commended AQD for the achievements made on R&D programs in 2014 and endorsed the planned activities for 2015. Recognizing the present and emerging needs of the aquaculture sector in the region, AQD was requested to intensify the dissemination of R&D results for the benefit of various stakeholders, particularly the small-scale fish farmers in the region. In particular, AQD was asked to give priority to dissemination of the (i) important findings of the project on sustainable aquaculture particularly on development of aquafeeds for selected species at specific growing stages, tissue culture of seaweeds, production of disease-free Penaeus monodon, and withdrawal period of antibiotics on important aquatic species; and (ii) experiences and lessons learnt from the project on resource enhancement of species of international significance that are threatened or over-exploited in Southeast Asia through stock releases and breeding/seed production of the humphead wrasse, abalone, mud crab, sea cucumber and other economically important species.
The Program Committee also gave the following suggestions for AQD to consider, depending on the availability of resources and cooperation of the requesting country: (i) collaborate with Malaysia on research that aims to address viral diseases in Penaeus monodon as well as the development of specific pathogen-free broodstock of P. monodon; and (ii) provide assistance to Myanmar in (a) its efforts to conduct studies on the culture of species suitable for different climatic conditions; (b) improving the methodology adopted by the country in the larval production for some important fish species and mud crab in protected areas; and (c) addressing problems on diseases of Macrobrachium spp., e.g. through technical support to enhance the capacity of local technical staff and on a cost-sharing basis.
Concerning the FCG-ASSP Meeting, the discussions focused on the follow-up actions to the directives given at the last meetings of the SEAFDEC Council and ASEAN bodies related to fisheries, the progress and plans of the Programs under the FCG/ASSP and the international fisheries-related issues. The meeting noted and endorsed two new projects proposed by AQD under GOJ for 2015 and these are: (i) Reinforcement and optimization of fish health management and the effective dissemination in the Southeast Asian region; and (ii) Environment-friendly, sustainable utilization and management of fisheries and aquaculture resources. The meeting participants were also informed of the planned publication of important findings and recommendations on Chemical Use in Aquaculture in Southeast Asia by AQD. Dr. M. Catacutan gave a brief presentation on this subject.
SEAFDEC/AQD will host the next Program Committee Meeting and Fisheries Consultative Group Meetings. These will be held in the Philippines sometime in November 2015.