CEBU CITY–The National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) and some members of the academe are pushing for a “blue economy” for the country.
“Blue economy”, as compared to “green economy”, focuses on seas and oceans, and emphasizes on the sustainable management of marine resources.
NAST acting president, Fabian Dayrit, said the Philippines is among the top producers of aquatic products, and also cited that aqua resources are also used in pharmaceutical products.
Dayrit noted that there are many untapped areas in the aquatic and fisheries industries.
“In 2012, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority revealed that the fishing sector had the highest poverty incidence. Thus, this sector deserves better from the government and from the society,” he said.
Ronald Mendoza from the Ateneo de Manila University shared that the Philippines is the second largest archipelagic country, and that 60 percent of the country’s population lives in coastal areas.
“(Also), Philippines is among the 10 fishing nations in 2014,” he said.
Mendoza said that based on his observation, the Philippines does not invest enough in the maritime sector.
However, he acknowledged that President Rodrigo Duterte has allotted a bigger budget for the armed forces.
“We’re advocating bigger budget for the armed forces, so they can defend our natural resources,” Mendoza said.
For his part, academician Rafael Guerrero III said there is a need to create a Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in order to attain a “blue economy”.
He explained that having the said department aims to give more emphasis on sustainable fisheries, particularly mariculture, which he described as the cheapest source of protein.
Meanwhile, the NAST has just concluded a two-day scientific forum here, which served as an avenue for the experts to discuss the potentials and challenges in the aquatic and fisheries industries.