In preparation for the 39th Annual Scientific Meeting on July, The National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST PHL) had recently held the Mindanao Regional Scientific Meeting on March 13-14 at the SMX Convention Center in Davao City.
Guided by the theme: "Attaining Sustainable Development Goals: Fisheries 20/20", the first of three regional scientific meetings focused on the Philippine fishing industry and the relevant factors and avenues that affected it.
Sustainable Development Goals
In 2015, the United Nations had set 17 goals to “end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all”. These goals, known collectively as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), are to be attained within a 15-year span:
1. No Poverty
2. Zero Hunger
3. Good Heath and Well-Being
4. Quality Education
5. Gender Equality
6. Clean Water and Sanitation
7. Affordable and Clean Energy
8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
10. Reduced Inequalities
11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
12. Responsible Consumption and Production
13. Climate Action
14. Life Below Water
15. Life on Land
16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
17. Partnerships for the Goals
Life below Water
Seeing the significant link of the country's fishery resources to multiple SGDs, the NAST Agricultural Sciences Division focused on SDG 14, which brought forth the event's sessions:
Sustainable Sardine Production focused on the institutionalization / strict implementation of the seasonal fishing ban to help fish population recover from the fishing activities of the fishing industries, and the development of more effective tools in identifying optimal fishing periods to maximize sustainability.
The session on the Status of the Philippine Seaweed Industry saw figures on the current state of its production, import and export, and its standing on the local and international markets were presented. The conduct of additional research on the effects of climate change on the industry was one of the priorities during the session.
The Fisheries Ecosystem session identified the need for a policy on the institutionalization of an ICT ecosystem for the fishery and aquatic resources in Mindanao, and the use of adaptive planning and management for the Agusan River Basin, with importance given to the Agusan Marsh.
Highlighted during the Dialogue on Waste Management in the Sardine / Tuna Canning and Processing Industries was the need for research on using waste materials such as fish blood and oil for value-adding and / or conversion to other by-products.
The session on Fishing Boats examined current boat and net designs, while warranting the need for the development of newer, more effective models that would increase vessel stability and speed, as well as net durability and lifespan.
Finally, the Science Legislative Forum on Blue Economy emphasized a marine-based economic approach that integrates conservation and the practice of sustainable resource extraction and use. In conclusion, the session called for the support for the creation of a Department for Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, to better address the concerns of the marine sector.