ISUFST visits SEAFDEC Thailand to explore collaboration opportunities

The Iloilo State University of Fisheries Science and Technology (ISUFST) delegation visited this Tuesday, June 4, 2024, the Training Department of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC-TD) in Phra Samut Chedi District, Samut Prakan, Thailand. This visit is part of ISUFST’s initiative to establish partnerships with leading institutions in fisheries and marine sciences.

The ISUFST team was welcomed by Mr. Longpathai Saraphaivanich, Head of the Training and Information Section, and his team. The visit began with an exchange of information, highlighting the mandates, thrusts, and services of both institutions, followed by a thorough exploration of SEAFDEC-TD’s training areas, equipment, facilities, exhibits, and ship.

“We hope this partnership will continue to grow,” Mr. Saraphaivanich remarked. “Both institutions have much to offer in terms of resources and expertise, and I believe we can achieve great things together.”

Established in 1968 and formally operating since 1970, SEAFDEC aims to develop modern fishery technologies and address workforce shortages in marine capture fisheries in Southeast Asia. SEAFDEC-TD is supported by the Government of Thailand and other donor governments, with Japan being the most generous contributor.

The visit provided ISUFST faculty and administrators with valuable insights into SEAFDEC-TD’s advanced fishery technologies and training programs. Dr. Nopporn Manjit, Marine Fisheries Senior Researcher, emphasized the benefits of collaboration, stating, “Sharing our knowledge and technology with ISUFST will not only enhance their capabilities but also contribute to the sustainable development of fisheries in Southeast Asia.”

Dr. Rolindo Demo-os, Dean of CFAS, appreciated the opportunity to learn from SEAFDEC-TD. “This visit is crucial in our efforts to elevate ISUFST’s status as a Center of Excellence in Fisheries,” he noted. “We are particularly interested in their research agendas and innovative practices, which we hope to integrate into our programs.”

The ISUFST delegation, composed of experts in marine fisheries, aquaculture, post-harvest and fish processing, fish biochemistry, and marine engineering, reflected positively on the visit. They recognized the significance of technology transfer and research collaboration in enhancing their educational and research programs.

Dr. Jescel Bito-onon, Director of the Research and Development Office at ISUFST, highlighted the visit’s importance for future research initiatives. “Understanding SEAFDEC-TD’s methodologies and best practices will enable us to develop more effective research projects and improve our overall academic offerings,” she said.

“This visit underscores the importance of international collaboration in advancing our technological capabilities and achieving sustainability in fisheries,” remarked Dr. Roy Villanueva, an aquaculture specialist.

Dr. Dennis Gomez, the team leader, expressed his optimism about the potential collaboration, stating, “The insights and knowledge we gained from SEAFDEC-TD are invaluable. We look forward to building a strong partnership that will drive innovation and excellence in our fisheries programs.”

Dr. Herman Lagon, Director of Public Affairs, Marketing, and Communication at ISUFST, concluded, “By engaging with SEAFDEC-TD and other leading institutions, we are not just aiming for accreditation; we are striving for excellence that resonates globally. This visit is a milestone in our journey towards becoming a world-class fisheries and marine sciences institution.”

The visit to SEAFDEC-TD is part of a broader initiative that includes engagements with other prominent institutions in Thailand, such as Rajamangala University of Technology Thanyaburi (RMUTT), Kasetsart University, and the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT). Supported by the ISUFST Board of Regents, led by CHED Chairman Popoy de Vera and University President Dr. Nordy Siason, Jr., this internationalization initiative aims to document critical programs, curricula, and initiatives, assess research agendas, and identify actionable practices for potential adaptation at ISUFST.

The ISUFST delegation for this International Cross Visit to Thailand includes a diverse group of experts, each with specific roles to maximize the visit’s benefits. Besides Dr. Gomez, Dr. Demo-os, Dr. Villanueva, Dr. Bito-onon, and Dr. Lagon, the team includes Dr. Quin Clarito, a marine fisheries specialist; Dr. Lou Magbanua, a social science expert; Prof. Cjay Soliven, a post-harvest and fish processing specialist; Prof. Ma. Roelle Silva, a fish biochemistry and microbiology expert; and Dr. Edgar Hortillosa, a marine fisheries and mangrove ecosystems specialist. Prof. Jerry B. Bedonia and Engr. Ermie V. Bedia round out the ISUFST team with specializations in ichthyology, and marine and mechanical engineering. Partner-institution DOST Region VI’s Ms. Juafe N. Abareles and Ms. Desiree Faith N. Sy also joined the cross-visit, making the number of delegates 14.

This week, the team will visit the fisheries departments and facilities of KU’s two campuses, which rank 15th and 58th globally in implementing UN SDG 1 (No Poverty) and SDG 14 (Life Below Water), and the AIT, ranked fourth in Thailand and 63rd in the QS World University Rankings for Agriculture and Forestry. (Herman Lagon/PAMCO)

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