By Development Communication Section / B AcostaLast 31 March to 3 April 2015, SEAFDEC Council Directors and their respective delegations from 11 countries (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam) and senior officials of SEAFDEC Secretariat and Departments gathered in Chiang Rai, Thailand for the Forty-seventh Council Meeting of SEAFDEC. Representatives from the Embassy of Sweden in Thailand, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of USA, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific (NACA) also attended. SEAFDEC/AQD was represented by its Chief, Dr. Felix Ayson; Deputy Chief, Dr. Takuro Shibuno, Officer in-Charge, Administration and Finance, Ms. Kaylin Corre and Special Departmental Coordinator, Ms. Belen Acosta.
The Council reviewed the progress and plans of SEAFDEC programs and the status of important fisheries issues in the region. Also reviewed were the progress made in addressing international fisheries-related issues and various aspects on regional cooperation that promotes sustainable fisheries and aquaculture in ASEAN Member States. Concerning initiatives that involve regional cooperation, the Council took note and endorsed the regional policy recommendations for the Development and Use of Alternative Dietary Ingredients in Aquaculture Feed Formulations, which was presented by the AQD Chief. The list of policy recommendations on feed was an output of the regional technical consultation convened by SEAFDEC/AQD in cooperation with SEAFDEC Secretariat and Government of Myanmar last 9-11 December 2014 in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar. Apart from collaborative activities between SEAFDEC and its partners, the participants also discussed the revision of Plans of Operation and Programs of Work of SEAFDEC Departments and Secretariat, the financial aspect and other matters related to the management of the Center.
The other matters taken up during the meeting with relevance to SEAFDEC/AQD work programs, the Council:
- commended AQD and other Departments for the significant accomplishments in 2014, particularly the efforts made in human capacity building through on-site training.
- recommended that AQD strengthen its research studies aimed at developing suitable alternative protein sources for aquaculture feeds and disseminate results that will assist the ASEAN Member States in developing strategies to reduce dependence on fish-based ingredients in aquaculture feed.
- recommended that SEAFDEC give priority to areas of research that are important for the upcoming ASEAN Economic Integration.
- recommended that AQD continue its research on quality seeds for aquaculture, integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA), and adaptation to impacts of climate change.
- agreed that SEAFDEC Secretariat and Departments will conduct in 2016 the mid-term evaluation to monitor the progress made by the ASEAN Member States in the implementation of the Resolution and Plan of Action for sustainable fisheries, as adopted in 2011 and to re-prioritize the issues and activities.
- noted the statement of NACA Director General concerning the planned establishment of MOU between NACA and SEAFDEC/AQD to facilitate the exchange of information on farming of fishes, crustaceans, mollusks, and seaweeds for food, livelihood, equity and sustainable development. He added that such MOU would find the opportunities for these organizations to strengthen the collaboration and coordination on strategic foresights in aquaculture development.
The next Council meeting will be held sometime in 2016 and will be hosted by the Government of Viet Nam.