The second senior officials meeting and related meetings of the APEC 2015 in Boracay Island, Philippines kicks off with a workshop on climate change and its impacts on oceans and fisheries.
The “Workshop on the Climate Change Impact on Oceans and Fisheries Resources” is a project initiated by the Government of Japan and is co-sponsored by the governments of Peru, Viet Nam, and APEC 2015’s host economy, the Philippines. It is one of the highlights of the Oceans and Fisheries Working Group (OFWG), which fifth meeting commences this week.
On behalf of the Government of the Philippines, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Director and OFWG Lead Shepherd Atty. Asis G. Perez welcomed the participants from 15 APEC-member economies and four international governmental organizations. Perez noted the timeliness of the workshop which coincides with the Philippine’s celebration of the Month of the Ocean this May.
Meanwhile, Project Overseer and Japan’s Cabinet Counselor Dr. Akima Umezawa served as the moderator of the one-day intensive workshop, which featured lectures from twelve prominent scholars and experts from Japan, US, China, Chile, and Indonesia, among others.
Today, APEC economies account for 70% and 80% of global consumption of fishery and aquaculture products, respectively, both of which are contributing vitally to food security and economic growth in the region. The oceans and the benefits derived from them, however, are under threat of degradation because of the changes in global climate patterns.
Aimed at properly addressing the effects of climate change on the integrity of marine ecosystems and on sustainable marine use, the workshop first focused on climate change impacts on oceans including ocean warming, sea level rising, and distribution changes of living marine resources. It also tackled concerns such as ocean acidification and stresses on marine biodiversity. The Arctic sea-ice melting is another topic which drew much attention since the Arctic Ocean is considered the most affected by climate change among all oceans of the world. The workshop also noted how climate change increases uncertainty in the sustainable use of marine resources, which not only endangers fisheries and aquaculture industries, but also poses risks on human life.
Towards the end of the workshop, a panel discussion was held to determine strategies for climate change adaptation, which aim is to ensure healthy and resilient marine environments for the welfare of future generations in the APEC region.
ATTY. ASIS G. PEREZ
BFAR Director and Concurrent OIC-DA Usec. for Fisheries
BFAR Information and Public Relations Group