By Development Communication Section
SEAFDEC/AQD supported the cause of various organizations, including restaurants and hotels, to improve the health of the oceans by sourcing seafood products from more sustainable fisheries and aquaculture during the week-long celebration of Sustainable Seafood Week (SSW) 2017 held last February 20 to 26.
The week-long event, spearheaded by Meliomar Incorporated, included activities such as beach cleaning, sustainable seafood cooking masterclass, working group sessions and workshops.
SEAFDEC/AQD highlighted its efforts in Molocaboc Island through its Community-Based Resource Enhancement (CBRE) Project that was greatly commended during the event for successfully involving fisherfolk organizations and the local government in replenishing abalone and sandfish wild stocks and promoting the recovery of the marine ecosystem around the island.
The fisherfolk organization at Molocaboc Island already agreed to supply 20kg of live abalone per week to Marriott Hotel Manila through Meliomar Incorporated. The abalone are sustainably-sourced, being spillovers gleaned by locals outside of a protected area.
“Actually, Meliomar wants 50kg per week because the New World Hotel is also asking for live abalone. But we are being cautious, we informed them that we will supply volumes that will not compromise the stocks in the CBRE site in Molocaboc,” remarked Associate Scientist Dr. Nerissa Salayo of SEAFDEC/AQD.
Dr. Salayo was together with SEAFDEC/AQD Scientist Dr. Ma. Rowena Eguia in promoting good aquaculture practices during the SSW in order to provide food for tables while protecting natural resources.
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. But teach a man how to grow fish and he’ll feed the next generations,” said Dr. Salayo during the NGO Workshop in Enderun Colleges last 21 February.
During the workshop, Dr. Salayo presented a lecture on “Resource Enhancement as Provider of Sustainable Seafood” while Dr. Eguia spoke on “Aquaculture as Provider of Sustainable Seafood.” The SSW calls for the establishment of an open and dynamic platform for stakeholders to discuss the status, challenges and promote awareness for more sustainable seafood in the Philippines.
At present, over 31% of global fisheries have been overfished and a further 58% are fully exploited (FAO SOFIA, 2016) as presented by Marine Stewardship Council Program Director Ms. Sheryl Torres-Wu who emphasized the importance of awareness of the ocean’s sustainability for it is a strong driving force for consumers to buy sustainable seafood.
This is why the country’s top restaurants and hotels vow to protect the world’s seafood supply. One of the partners for this cause is the five-star hotel Hyatt City of Dreams in Manila whose Executive Chef, Mr. Michael Ludtke, said that 58% of the seafood served in his kitchen last year was already sustainably sourced.
This move was commended by Greenpeace Southeast Asia Executive Director Mr. Naderev Sano who said, “When we start looking at our plates, we [must] realize what’s at stake and be mindful of our oceans.”