Heads of the delegations attending the BIMP-EAGA conference. (Photo: Mindanao Economic Development Council)
BIMP-EAGA aquaculture conference underway
Tuesday, April 06, 2010, 21:40 (GMT + 9)
Fisheries sector delegates of Brunei -Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) kicked off a three-day conference at General Santos City, Philippines, that aims to promote and improve high-value aquaculture in the sub-region.
The first-ever BIMP-EAGA Business Conference on High Value Aquaculture, it is a response from member governments’ directive to create a joint venture on fisheries in the sub-region, that aims to firm up immediate steps and generate involvement from all stakeholders.
High-value aquaculture has been identified as one of the areas of collaboration by the BIMP-EAGA Fisheries Working Group along with tuna, sardines and seaweeds.
The conference intends to increase and expand private enterprises on high-value aquaculture in BIMP-EAGA through the active promotion of joint ventures between EAGA members, investment and trading and export of high-value seafood to target markets.
The conference will present trade and investment opportunities in the aquaculture sector from among the BIMP-EAGA countries. Best practices and recent breakthroughs on high-value aquaculture farming and marketing will also be presented.
At the end of the conference, a plan of action for high-value aquaculture sector in BIMP-EAGA will be drawn up including business proposals through the business matching sessions.
Among the topics that will be discussed are global market opportunities for high-value aquaculture, economic potentials vis-à-vis environment conservation of the Coral Triangle, as well as business potentials of the abalone industry, seaweeds and grouper.
The participants will also visit the Alson’s Aqua Culture Corporation in Alabel, Sarangani, as a success story on high-value aquaculture.
“By advancing the aquaculture sector, we provide breathing space for our marine species to regenerate while the fishing operators have an alternative source of living,” Sani Macabalang, the Philippine regional director of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said.
The BIMP-EAGA sub-region shares a common fishing ground, but there is too much pressure brought about by the rapid development of the fishing industry and unsustainable fishing practices, a statement from the conference reads.
The prospects for the development of BIMP-EAGA’s aquaculture sector are promising with its members’ participation in the Live Reef Food Fish market, which is a principal commodity in Southeast Asia, with China, Hong Kong, and Japan as major demand centres.
By Denise Recalde