The Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC), a regional treaty organization that promotes sustainable fisheries among its 11 member countries, welcomed the new deputy chief of its Aquaculture Department (AQD) based in Iloilo last Oct. 20, 2020.
Dr. Sayaka Ito, a Japanese scientist with expertise in aquatic conservation biology, replaced fellow Japanese Dr. Koh-ichiro Mori who served as the Deputy Chief from April 2018 to June 2020 in this organization that is mandated to conduct scientific research to generate aquaculture technologies, develop skilled manpower for the aquaculture sector, and disseminate aquaculture information.
Upon endorsement by the Government of Japan, SEAFDEC Secretary-General Malinee Smithrithee appointed Dr. Ito to a 2-year term from Oct. 1, 2020 to Sept. 30, 2022 wherein he will also serve as co-manager of the Japanese Trust Fund which supports several research projects in the Philippine-based SEAFDEC/AQD.
Department Chief Dan Baliao welcomed Dr. Ito at the SEAFDEC/AQD headquarters in Tigbauan, Iloilo and introduced him to other senior officials. The new deputy chief was then toured around the different facilities and offices of the research complex.
Dr. Ito has experience working in Lao People’s Democratic Republic where they established a research-based stock management system for their indigenous high-value freshwater prawn. The system also considered the customs and behaviors of the locals and eventually contributed to the sustainable use of the prawn resource and improvement in the income of the people.
Immediately prior to his appointment, Dr. Ito worked for seven years at the Hokkaido National Fisheries Research Institute of the Japan Fisheries Research and Education Agency (FRA).
As the leader of the Stock Enhancement Group, Dr. Ito and his colleagues examined the migration pattern and habitat use of high-value prawn and the environmental characteristics of the kelp (Laminaria) fishing grounds using GIS (Geographic Information System). He also studied the business structure of small-scale fishing households in the coastal area of eastern Hokkaido.
From 2006 to 2013, he was also a senior researcher at the Fishery Division of the Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS). During his 7-year stint with the organization, he worked on the stock management system of prawn in Lao People’s Democratic Republic.
From 2003 to 2005, he became a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Center for Marine Environmental Studies at Ehime University. He became involved in researches examining non-native freshwater fishes and its interspecific interactions with native fishes in Japan.
Dr. Ito also briefly worked as a junior high school science teacher from 2005 to 2006 at Komatsu Junior High School in Saijyo City, Ehime, Japan. From 2002 to 2003, he also taught science at the Hanada Junior High School for Handicapped Students in Nagano, Japan.
He has published several research publications from 2000 to 2018, with his major outputs covering stock enhancement and ecology of fluvial prawn. He also conducted studies on different species, such as the Pacific herring, stream goby, and snakeskin gourami. /JR PAGADOR