The Department of Science and Technology-National Academy of Science and Technology (DOST-NAST) expressed support to the so-called “blue economy” by focusing on more research and development activities geared at harnessing the vast resources offered by the seas and oceans from fisheries to mineral deposits.

In a forum organized by DOST-NAST, dubbed as “Legislative Forum Towards Blue Economy”, held on April 18, 2017 in Cebu City, experts from two different specialties called for a mutual approach towards a sustainably managed blue economy. The said forum was part of NAST’s Regional Scientific Meeting with the theme, “Attaining Sustainable Development Goals: Philippine Fisheries and Other Aquatic Resources 20/20”.

Academician Rafael D. Guerrero III, member of NAST-Agricultural Sciences Division, presented the vast opportunities that the country can harbor from the Blue Economy, stressing the need to “prioritize the use of the seas for the benefit of the people.” Guerrero emphasized further that blue economy can bring not just fishes but also oil, gas, minerals, and even pharmaceuticals.

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In the same forum, economist Dr. Ronald U. Mendoza, Dean of Ateneo de Manila University’s School of Government, posed a challenge to science experts and the governmentto invest enough in the marine sector, and to use “not only science but also economics.” Mendoza is positive that once investments in the country’s marine sector set sail, the road towards the sustainable management of the country’s blue economy will not be far behind.

Guerrero also emphasized the need to institutionalize a designated department that will handle the country’s blue economy to be called the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, while Mendoza stressed the need to translate data from blue economy into plans and policies to introduce possible total economic valuation.

The Philippines as an archipelagic country boasts of a coastline that measures up to 36, 289 km longer than China and the United States. The country’s waters also hold 70 percent of the Coral Triangle or the Global Center of Marine Diversity where 76 percent of coral species live and is home to at least 2, 228 species of reef fish. And with Philippine Rise (formerly Benham Rise) harboring 13M hectares of oceanic plateau, both Guerrero and Mendoza agree that it is a challenge on how to sustainably manage the country’s marine and aquatic resources. (By Rodolfo P. de Guzman and Karl Raven A. Ramon, S&T Media Service)

At the Luzon Regional Scientific Meeting on May 15, 2017 at the CAP John Hay Convention Center in Baguio City, Academician Rafael D. Guerrero III once again stressed the need to create policies that will support sustainable development initiatives for the benefit of marginal fisherfolks, fishing companies and consumers. Guerrero also expressed his support for the creation of a separate Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources independent of the Department of Agriculture. (Photo by Henry A. de Leon/S&T Media Service)

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