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UPV-CAS in partnership with AFSSRN organizes  a joint international conference of the ICFAS6 and AFSSRN F1

UPV-CAS in partnership with AFSSRN organizes a joint international conference of the ICFAS6 and AFSSRN F1

The  Sixth International Conference for Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences (ICFAS 6) of the University of the Philippines Visayas (UPV) was jointly held with the first forum of the Asian Fisheries Social Science Research Network (AFSSRN F1) on November 24-26, 2021,  via Zoom,  with the theme: The Science and Art of Fisheries and Aquaculture: Life Above and Below Waters to highlight the synergy between science and arts and the transdisciplinarity in fisheries and aquaculture. The joint international conference was hosted by the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) in partnership with the AFSSRN, a section of the Asian Fisheries Society.

The joint conference had 634 regular participants, presenters,  invited local and international organizing committee members, and special guests from 17 countries, including the United States of America, Norway, Nigeria, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, Bangladesh, China, Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, and the Philippines.  It had a plenary, parallel, and special sessions, poster and art exhibits, and student competitions.

The first day kicked off with an opening ceremony with Prof. Alice Joan G. Ferrer, dean of UPV-CAS, chair of AFSSRN, and chair of the International Organizing Committee, officially opening the conference. UPV Chancellor Clement C. Camposano and Department of Agriculture Secretary Dr. William D. Dar welcomed the participants to the conference.  Dr. Svein Jentoft, professor emeritus in The University of Tromsø – The Arctic University of Norway,  delivered his keynote address titled “Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries Are Also About Communities.”  The joint conference online exhibit was composed of 57 scientific posters, videos of student competition with 40 entries, and 9 creative works were officially opened.   

The parallel sessions commenced after the opening ceremony. The regular oral scientific sessions had a total of 116 papers presented in 23 parallel sessions under five themes:  Aquatic Resources, Environments, and Fisheries; Aquaculture; Postharvest and Biotechnology; Economics, Governance, Gender, and Fisheries Management; and Socio-cultural Aspects of Fisheries. The nine creative work entries for the regular oral arts session were photo essays,  poems,  short films,  a short story,  and a song.

Social scientists gathered for the Social Scientist Assembly and the AFSSRN election. A panel discussion on the importance of social science research in fisheries and aquaculture had three panelists who gave presentations: Dr. Nikita Gopal, principal scientist in ICAR-Central Institute of Fisheries Technology, India, on “Mainstreaming Social Science Research in Fisheries and Aquaculture – Shifting to Trans-Disciplinary Approaches”; Dr. Yinji Li, associate professor in  Tokai University, Japan on “The Meaning of Social Science and Transdisciplinarity in Securing Small-Scale Fisheries Sustainability”; and. Dr. Agus Heri Purnomo, the principal researcher in the Research Center for Marine and Fisheries Socio-Economics, Indonesia on “The Importance of Social Science in Fisheries and Aquaculture Dr. Robert Pomeroy, professor emeritus at the University of Connecticut-Avery Point, USA, delivered the keynote address titled, “Social Science for Fisheries and Aquaculture in Asia: Solving Problems and Creating Opportunities.’’ 

Plenary 1 that opened the second conference day had  Dr. Meryl Williams, chair of Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries Section, a section of Asian Fisheries Society,  and Dr. Victoria Syddall of the University of Auckland, Science Centre, New Zealand,  talked about ‘’What Happened to Women as Fisheries Boomed?’’. Meanwhile, Dr. Derun Yuan, senior programme officer in Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific, Thailand, spoke about ‘’Innovative Aquaculture’’. 

The special session on Blue Justice had five presentations from Dr. Tek Bahadur Gurung of Nepal, Dr. Yinji Li of Japan, Dr. Dilanthi Korolagama of Sri Lanka,  Dr. Kafayat Fakoya of Nigeria, and Dr.  Alice Joan G. Ferrer. The presenters shared forms of injustices and inequities in small-scale fisheries. The presentations were from the 5 of the 35 chapters in the forthcoming Too Big To Ignore (TBTI) book on Blue Justice: Small-Scale Fisheries in a Sustainable Ocean Economy. The special session presenters were also the authors of the book's chapters. 

The USAID Fish Right Program also organized a special event for the awarding ceremony of their SEAning Kabataan Short Film. 

Plenary 2 on the last conference day had as speakers Dr. Nireka Weerantunge,  a research fellow in the International Centre for Ethnic Studies, Sri Lanka on the topic  “The Stories We Tell: Bridging Arts and Science in Fisheries and Aquaculture”, and Dr. Suchana Chavanich, associate professor in Chulalongkorn University, Thailand on the topic “Marine Plastics and Microplastic Pollutions: Impact on Aquatic Resources and Management’’. 

A special session by Oceana titled “Steering the Boat with Fisherfolk and Winning Victories for our Oceans.” highlighted the importance of transparency, accountability, and full implementation of science-based policies in ocean management.   

In the summary session, the session chairs shared key information from parallel sessions.  Each presentation identified the main messages and lessons from the session presentations. 

The highlight of the closing ceremony was the awarding of winners for the various student competitions chaired by Prof. Steve Janagap. The three winners for the Fishing for Solution Competition were Ms. Ellen Grace Galaura and team (University of the Philippines Diliman and University of the Philippines Visayas) for first place, Patrick Andre Fernandez and team (University of the Philippines Visayas) for second place, and Ms. Merry Beatrice Sanchez and team (University of the Philippines Visayas) for third place. The Best Student Oral Speed Presenters were Mr. Eljenmer Sindo (University of the Philippines Visayas) and Ms. Maureen Ramos (University of the Philippines Visayas) for the Undergraduate Category; and Ms. Gianette Sayco(University of the Philippines Visayas) and Ms. Cheryl Jela (University of the Philippines Visayas) for the Graduate Category. The Best Student Poster Presenters were Ms. Deborah Gay (University of the Philippines Visayas) and Mr. Thoreenz Soldevilla (Philippine Science High School Western Visayas Campus) for the Undergraduate Category; and Ms. Nur Amalina Binti Samat (Universiti Putra Malaysia) and Mr. Shafiq Bin Johar (Universiti Putra Malaysia) for the Graduate Category. 

Dr. Harold M. Monteclaro, UPV Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension, delivered the closing remarks. He thanked the partners and sponsors for their generous support and the various local and international committees who worked hard to make the conference a success. 

The link to the conference website is www.icfas.upv.edu.ph

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