In line with the Duterte Administration’s thrust of bringing science initiative to the regions, the National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST PHL) and Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Mindanao Cluster, in cooperation with the Mindanao Business Council, conducted a two-day Regional Scientific Meeting (RSM) at the SMX Convention Center, Davao City, Davao del Sur, last March 13-14, 2017. This event was participated by the six (6) regions in Mindanao (Regions IX, X, XI, XII, CARAGA and ARMM).

With the overarching theme, “Attaining Sustainable Development Goals: Philippine Fisheries and Other Aquatic Resources 20/20”, Mindanao RSM is the first of the three regional scientific meetings of NAST and DOST Clusters, in preparation for the 39th Annual Scientific Meeting on July 12-13, 2017.

The two-day Regional Scientific Meeting is divided into four (4) plenary sessions, one (1) dialogue, and one (1) science legislative forum wherein experts shared their insights and experiences.
Topics discussed: (1) sustainable sardine production, (2) current status of the Philippine seaweed industry, (3) fisheries ecosystem, (4) fishing boats, (5) waste management in tuna and sardines canning and processing industry, and blue economy.

Dr. Cesar L. Villanoy, a professor at the Marine Science Institute of the University of the Philippines, Diliman, presented the factors affecting the fluctuation of sardine abundance, such as upwelling, upwelling, circulation, sea temperature, El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), monsoons, rainfall, river discharge, overfishing, industry demand, management policies, industry demands, food availability, predation, and regime shift.

Mr. Alfredo Pedrosa III, president of the Seaweed Industry Association of the Philippines, discussed extensively the current status and issues faced by the Philippine Seaweed Industry. According to him, Philippine Seaweed Industry stands as major component of aquaculture in the fisheries sector contributing to about 50% of annual national fishery production, of which 70% comes from seaweeds principally the kappaphycus and eucheuma species, the main source of carrageenan.

This presentation was followed by, Academician William T. Torres, member of the Engineering Sciences and Technology Division (ESTD) of NAST PHL, who talked about the “Information, Communications and Technology Ecosystem.” He emphasized the difference between Digital Ecosystems and ICT Ecosystems and explained the roles of ICT solutions in changing the way the world works, lives and interacts and accelerate towards achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

On the other hand, Academician Guillermo Q. Tabios III, member of the ESTD of NAST PHL, discussed extensively the “Hydrologic,-Geomorphologic-Ecologic Consideration for Sustainable Fisheries in Agusan River Basin.” He shared about the current state of Agusan River Basin and Agusan Marsh. According to him, in planning and managing the Agusan River basin, objective measures should be established and followed to ensure that ecological goals are met.

During the dialogue, Academician Filemon A. Uriarte Jr., member of the ESTD of NAST PHL, talked about “Waste Management in the Fish Processing Industry”. According to him, odor is often the most significant form of air pollution in fish processing. He also discussed several treatment ways of minimizing the wastes.

Academician Reynaldo B. Vea, chair of the ESTD of NAST PHL, discussed the “Design Synthesis for Steel-Hulled Trawlers” during the fourth plenary session. He explained the cost components of the fishing vessel operation, wherein fuel oil being the highest component, accounts to almost half of the whole cost.

Engr. Brian P. Lanoy, shipping operation specialist II of Maritime Industry Authority Region XI, talked about “Municipal Fishing Boats”. His lecture gave emphasis on the important factors to consider in boat design, as well as for the registration of municipal fishing boats.

Academician Rafael D. Guerrero III, member of the Agricultural Sciences Division of NAST PHL, was the resource person during the Science Legislative Forum (SLF) “Towards a Blue Economy”. He emphasized the reasons for the creation of the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DFAR).

Academician Alvin B. Culaba, member of the ESTD of NAST PHL, presented the outputs of the Resolution Committee to Mr. Rolando A. Torres, executive director of Mindanao Business Council and Dr. Fatima M. Idris, regional director of Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Region XI gave the responses.

DOST Undersecretary for Regional Operations, Ms. Brenda L. Nazareth-Manzano, during her closing remarks stated that the Regional Scientific Meeting in Mindanao provided an arena for top class scientists, professionals, engineers, and the young generation of science enthusiasts to freely exchange ideas and visions to promote the development and utilization of science and technology for poverty reduction and sustainable development.