By Development Communication Section / B Acosta
Nearly 100 participants representing the Council Directors and their delegations from 11 SEAFDEC Member Countries (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam), officials of the SEAFDEC Secretariat and Departments, and international and regional organizations gathered in Nha Trang, Viet Nam last 4-8 April 2016 for the 48th Meeting of the SEAFDEC Council.
In attendance at the meeting from AQD were Dr. Felix Ayson, Chief; Dr. Chihaya Nakayasu, Deputy Chief; Ms. Jasmine Gelvero, OIC of Administration and Finance Division; Ms Jiji Rillo, Budget Officer; Ms. Anna Maria Ortiz, Administrative Assistant; and Ms. Belen Acosta, Special Departmental Coordinator. Dr. Evelyn Grace Ayson, Research Division Head also attended the sessions that are relevant to AQD. The meeting was hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Viet Nam.
The Council noted the progress and achievements made by SEAFDEC in 2015 and the ongoing programs for 2016. Updates on priority and emerging issues on fisheries and aquaculture for policy considerations, the management and future operations of SEAFDEC, financial matters, and collaborative arrangements between SEAFDEC and its partner organizations were also discussed.
Other aspects discussed were the planned High level Consultation on Regional Cooperation in Sustainable Fisheries Development scheduled in August 2016, publication of the Southeast Asian State of Fisheries and Aquaculture, and activities for the 50th Anniversary of SEAFDEC in 2017.
With regard to policy recommendations for sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, the Council took note and approved for implementation by SEAFDEC and ASEAN Member States (AMS) the Regional Policy Recommendations for: (i) Development and Use of Alternative Dietary Ingredients in Aquaculture Feed Formulations and (ii) Addressing the Early Mortality Syndrome (EMS) and Other Transboundary Diseases in Aquaculture.
These recommendations which are based on the outcomes of regional technical consultations on aquafeeds and EMS, organized recently by AQD and its partner organizations, were presented by AQD Chief and Research Division Head, respectively.
Concerning other aspects that are relevant to SEAFDEC/AQD’s work programs, the Council:
- recommended that for aquaculture, research activities should be linked with policies and should continue to address the possible loopholes along the whole supply chain (i.e. from culture, processing, marketing, including on the application of Good Aquaculture Practices and aquaculture inputs);
- expressed concern on the use of fish meal in aquaculture and cited the need for AQD to continue its research on utilization of locally available ingredients for feed formulations. This also includes further exploring the suitability of plant-based ingredients in aquafeed and ensuring the availability of supply locally;
- recommended that research should focus on ‘common species’ of the region, so that several countries could benefit from project outputs;
- recommended that AQD continue to give high priority to research on aquatic disease prevention (particularly the EMS or APHND on shrimps) and encouraged SEAFDEC and AMS to conduct more activities on this aspect in the future;
- suggested that (i) in addition to the technical solutions to overcome disease problems, cooperation among countries should be strengthened and (ii) when a disease outbreak occurs in one country, other countries should be informed through the establishment of the regional early warning system;
- recommended that the existing mechanism of the ASEAN Network of Aquatic Animal Health Center be mobilized to address aquatic animal diseases in the region; also suggested that Thailand as the Network’s Lead Country explore the possibility of inviting AQD in order that issues on aquatic diseases could be addressed collaboratively instead of creating new mechanism.
The next Council meeting will be held in April 2017 and will be hosted by the Government of Brunei Darussalam.