Science and technology innovations to promote sustainable fisheries in Southeast Asia and the Coral Triangle

By Kelvin Gorospe

S&T ReportBack in November 2013, Drs. Rusty Brainard and Kelvin Gorospe of PIFSC’s Coral Reef Ecosystem Division (CRED) along with colleagues from NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program and Office of Law Enforcement met with officials from USAID-Regional Development Mission for Asia (RDMA) and the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. Among one of the priorities identified during that meeting was to combine the expertise of NOAA and DOI to develop recommendations for how science and technology (S&T) innovations could be harnessed to promote sustainable trans-boundary fisheries in Southeast Asia and the Coral Triangle.

The week after that meeting, Rusty and Kelvin continued to Penang, Malaysia to attend the 36th Program Committee Meeting of the Southeast Asia Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC). The meeting was attended by delegates from the 11 member countries of SEAFDEC (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam) and focused on a review of ongoing SEAFDEC fisheries research and management activities in the region.

Fishing boats docked in West Sumatra, Indonesia. Photo by Supin Wongbusarakum

Fishing boats docked in West Sumatra, Indonesia. Photo by Supin Wongbusarakum

A core group of NOAA and DOI S&T experts were then tasked with developing a survey to collect expert opinion across both agencies. NOAA’s International Affairs Council and the DOI’s International Technical Assistance Program distributed the survey across both agencies. The survey asked participants to provide their opinions on how S&T can be harnessed to integrate information throughout the seafood supply chain as well as meet the management needs at discreet points along the chain (pre-catch, point-of-catch, point-of-processing/packaging, and point-of-purchase/consumption).

Seafood Supply Chain

Fish market in Bangkok, Thailand.  Photo by Supin Wongbusarakum

Fish market in Bangkok, Thailand.
Photo by Supin Wongbusarakum

Guided by USAID-RDMA’s request, contextualized by SEAFDEC’s needs and capacities, and informed by the opinions of experts across both NOAA and DOI, the report entitled, “Science and technology to promote sustainable fisheries in Southeast Asia and the Coral Triangle” is now complete and ready for distribution. The report is authored by Kelvin D. Gorospe and Supin Wongbusarakum of PIFSC’s CRED and University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research; Keith Chanon, Patrick Lynch, and William L. Michaels of the National Marine Fisheries Service’s Office of Science and Technology; and Christopher D. Elvidge of the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service’s National Geophysical Data Center.

To come full circle, the report is also set to be distributed at the upcoming 47th meeting of the SEAFDEC Council in Chiang Rai, Thailand, which will be attended by senior fisheries officials from all ten Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Member States, as well as Drs. Rusty Brainard and Supin Wongbusarakum of PIFSC CRED and Angelina Stella from NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement.

The full report can be downloaded from the NOAA PIFSC Library online here.

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