Marina on guard vs biofouling

Asian countries pull their acts together to fight the spread of invasive aquatic species
Photo courtesy of Maritime Industry Authority
Photo courtesy of Maritime Industry Authority

The Philippines is committed to protecting East Asian seas against invasive aquatic species, according to Transportation Undersecretary for Maritime Elmer Francisco Sarmiento.

"The Philippines, as one of the Lead Partnering Countries for the GloFouling Partnerships Project, is steadfast with its commitment to ensuring the protection and sustainability of the marine environment, as well as to minimize, if not eliminate, the harmful impacts of invasive aquatic biofouling," Sarmiento said in a speech at the start of the three-day 2nd Regional Task Force Meeting on Biofouling Management in the East Asian Seas Region in Manila last 22 November.

Biofouling on ships entering the waters of States may result in the establishment of invasive aquatic species which may pose threats to human, animal and plant life, economic and cultural activities and the aquatic environment, according to the International Maritime Organization.

The Philippines is represented in the said project by Maritime Industry Authority Deputy Administrator for Planning Sonia Malaluan.

Meanwhile, Lilia Khodjet El Khil, project manager of the GPP-IMO, and Aimee Gonzales, executive director of the Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia resource facility, conveyed the importance of addressing the negative impact of biofouling in an integrated manner during the meeting.

Khil led the presentation regarding updates on the project, which also intends to raise awareness from global action to national implementation as well as share best practices on biofouling management.

Gonzales highlighted that the Regional Task Force on Biofouling Management intends to develop a regional strategy for the initiative.

Participating countries provided their respective national status and initiatives in relation to biofouling.

As the head of the Philippine delegation, Marina Shipyards Regulation Service Director Engr. Ramon Hernandez reported the initiatives of the country including the development of the National Strategic Action Plan, National Economic Assessment and National Measures.

Delegates and representatives from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste, Vietnam, IMO, PEMSEA, The Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security, Global TestNet, Tas Global Inc. and Hongkong University attended the meeting.

Daily Tribune