Sustained utilization of SEAFDEC vessels through collaborative research surveys: Marine resources survey of the Gulf of Thailand using the M.V. SEAFDEC 2
Cognizant of the state of depletion and to some extent, collapse of the fishery resources particularly in coastal areas, concerned ASEAN Member States (AMSs) have increasingly placed focus on the under-utilized marine fishery resources in the offshore areas of their respective Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs). Many AMSs are therefore making considerations to exploit these offshore fishery resources to reduce fishing pressure on their respective coastal resources and give the coastal fishery resources respite for recovery and rebuilding (Garcia et al., 2018). The same concern was addressed by the AMSs during the June 2011 ASEAN-SEAFDEC Conference on Sustainable Fisheries for Food Security Towards 2929 “Fish for the People 2020: Adaptation to a Changing Environment” that led to the adoption of the “Resolution and Plan of Action on Sustainable Fisheries for Food Security for the ASEAN Region Towards 2020,” which include among others, the advocacy to: “Investigate the potential of under-utilized fisheries resources and promote their exploitation in a precautionary manner based upon analysis of the best available scientific information.” Responding to such needs and requirements, the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) through its Training Department (SEAFDEC/TD) has been working closely with the AMSs for the conduct of marine fishery resources surveys and studies on the marine environment of specific offshore areas, such as the Gulf of Thailand, Andaman Sea, and South China Sea, utilizing the SEAFDEC research vessels, the M.V. SEAFDEC and the M.V. SEAFDEC 2, that aim to collect information on the status of marine fishery resources and oceanographic conditions, as well as build the capacity of human resources in the aspects of fisheries and oceanographic surveys, on board navigation practices, and marine engineering. The most recent of such surveys facilitated by SEAFDEC/TD, was the two month “Collaborative Research Survey on Marine Fishery Resources and Marine Environment in the Gulf of Thailand” from 17 August to 18 October 2018 which made use of the M.V. SEAFDEC 2.