Secretariat, Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center
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During the first quarter of 2015, SEAFDEC is delighted to welcome the SEAFDEC Council Director for Thailand Dr. Joompol Sanguansin as the Chairperson of the SEAFDEC Council for the Year 2015-2016, succeeding Mr. Lee Kwong Weng, the SEAFDEC Council Director for Singapore who served as the Chairperson of the SEAFDEC Council for 2014-2015, and later succeeded by Dr. Tan Lee Kim. During the recently-convened 47th Meeting of the SEAFDEC Council, the good progress and achievements of SEAFDEC in 2014 were noted by the Council, and subsequently, the proposed program of activities to be undertaken by SEAFDEC in 2015 were approved. The Council appreciated the establishment of IFRDMD as the fifth SEAFDEC Department as the region’s inland fisheries could now be given more focus leading to the sustainable development and management of the region’s inland fishery resources. The Council also provided directives on important issues and future activities of SEAFDEC in enhancing the competitiveness of the fisheries sector of the region. Significant steps have also been made by SEAFDEC in launching the database on Regional Fishing Vessels Record (RFVR) for Vessels 24 meters in Length and Over, which is envisaged to support further initiatives of countries in combating IUU fishing in the region. Another important event, which was held back-to-back with the SEAFDEC Council Meeting, was the signing of the MOU between the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security (CTI-CFF) and SEAFDEC, which would serve as platform for cooperation particularly for activities to be undertaken in the overlapping spatial areas of the CTI-CFF and SEAFDEC. Also in the first quarter of 2015, several training courses were conducted by SEAFDEC, including the regional training course and training of trainers on essential ecosystem approach to fisheries management; the regional training course on fish handling techniques applicable to various fishing operations in Southeast Asia; and the training courses on softshell crab farming, mangrove crabculture and milkfish farming operations. SEAFDEC also welcomed the new Deputy Chief of the IFRDMD, Dr. Satoshi Honda whose expertise is on fish stock assessment; and the new Deputy Chief of MFRDMD, Dr. Osamu Abe who was once the Deputy Chief of MFRDMD. The new members of the SEAFDEC Regional Fisheries Policy Network (RFPN) for 2015 were also welcomed, and tasked to play the important role of sustaining the coordination and communication between SEAFDEC and their respective countries in the near future.