CEBU, Philippines – A gathering of more than 300 scientists, researchers, national government agency representatives, people from the academe and various stakeholders is being held at the Marco Polo Hotel in Cebu City for the Visayas Regional Scientific Meeting (RSM) to discuss opportunities, issues and initiatives in the fisheries industry in the country.

The two-day conference on April 18-19, 2017 is organized and sponsored by the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) Philippines in coordination with the DOST Visayas Cluster composed of Regions VI, VII, VIII and the Negros Island Region (NIR). NAST is an attached institution of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

This series of regional scientific meetings carries the theme “Attaining Sustainable Development Goals: Philippine Fisheries and Other Aquatic Resources 20/20”. This is an initiative that serves as prelude to the 39th Annual Scientific Meeting scheduled on July 12-13, 2017.

NAST PHL conducts these RSMs as it adopts the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) that focus on SDG No. 14 (Life Below Water), where science plays an important role in achieving SDG No. 1 (No Poverty), SDG No. 2 (Zero Hunger), and SDG No. 3 (Good Health and Well-Being). This is also in line with the Duterte Administration’s policy on reducing inequality and developing resources and creating opportunities in the provinces and regions.

This event, formally opened by DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña, is the second leg after its successful stint last month in Davao City for the Mindanao Regional Scientific Meeting. During the first leg, experts from various fields in fisheries and players from the tuna industry and other marine resources shared their research studies and discussed the industry outlook in relation to its contribution to the country’s economy.

This time around, there will be forums, dialogues, and presentations of research studies on various fields in fisheries and aquatic resources. Invited speakers include the following: Academician (Acd.) Rhodora V. Azanza who will talk on “Seaweed Culture”; Dr. Mudjekeewis D. Santos on “Fishery Harvest and Mariculture”; Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Undersecretary Marlo D. Mendoza on “Clean Water and Sanitation in Fishing”; Acd. Gisela P. Concepcion on “Quality Education for Sustainable Development”; and DENR Biodiversity Management Bureau Executive Director Dr. Vincent V. Hilomen on “Climate Change and Fisheries.”  

There will also be a Science Legislative Forum that will provide a venue to discuss what the so-called “Blue Economy” is with speakers that include Acd. Rafael D. Guerrero III from the Agricultural Sciences Division of NAST PHL and Dr. Ronald U. Mendoza, dean of the School of Government of the Ateneo de Manila University.

Dialogues will also be held on Disaster Resiliency and Business Continuity with Dr. Renato U. Solidum, DOST undersecretary for disaster risk reduction and management and PHIVOLCS OIC, and on Emerging Diseases in Shrimp Culture with Dr. Rolando V. Pakingking Jr., head of the Fish Health Section of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center, and Roselyn C. Usero, manager and laboratory head of the Negros Prawn Producers Cooperative, Inc.

At the end of the two-day event, there will be a consolidation of all discussions and recommendations that will be presented to policy and decision makers for further consideration in line with the national agenda of the government towards achieving the sustainable development goals. (S&T Media Service)

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