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International Ocean Forum on South-East Asia: promoting marine industry

(Provided by the Center for Southeast Asian Studies)
On November 27-28, 2019, with the guidance of the Ocean Affairs Council of the Executive Yuan, the National Sun Yat-sen University organized the International Ocean Forum on South-East Asia. The forum was attended by representatives of industry, government and academic institutions from the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka, as well as by delegates from the American Institute in Taiwan, Thailand Trade and Economic Office in Taipei, and Kaohsiung City Government. The goal of the forum was to promote discussions on the organization of marine industry-related cooperation between Taiwan and South-East Asian countries.

Special guests of this forum included: Dr. Gay Defiesta, Senior Vice President of the University of the Philippines Visayas, Dr. Eby Hara, Assistant Professor at the Jember University (Indonesia), assistant professor Dr. Korawit Chaisu from the Panyapiwat Institute of Management of CP Group (Thailand), and Dr. Alice Joan Ferrer, Vice President of the Asian Fisheries Society. The guests shared their knowledge and discussed three major issues: the development trends in the marine industry of each country that is involved in the New Southbound Policy, Taiwan’s participation in the marine industry of these countries, and the economic value and sustainable development of aquaculture as source of nutrition.

According to the 2010 data of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 85% of the world’s economies face the problem of overfishing. This indicates the problem of maintaining a stable supply of protein in these economies. Taiwan’s investment in aquaculture technology research has already a long history and has brought positive results. The College of Marine Sciences in NSYSU has recently succeeded in applying AI technology to shrimp farms, which greatly improved the productivity and quality of the shrimp produce. Thanks to the efforts of NSYSU Center for Southeast Asian Studies, the research team succeeded in establishing cooperation with S.I.A. FARM (Thailand) and signing an MOU on bilateral cooperation during the Forum. In the future, the team will conduct large-scale practical tests on the application of AI in shrimp farms, which could boost the shrimp farming industry in both Taiwan and Thailand.

Ocean Affairs Council Deputy Minister Ching-Piao Tsai pointed out that Ocean Affairs Council is an agency of the central government responsible for marine affairs and is involved with marine issues in Southeast Asia. The Ocean Affairs Council was created with the following aims: strengthening the sustainable management of the ocean resources in Taiwan, protecting the related interests and benefits of Taiwan, and actively promoting research and development of the waters of Taiwan. However, the Council also promotes the development of marine technologies and marine-related international relations. The Council anticipates an increase in the participation of public and private entities in international marine affairs. The exchange and cooperation in marine affairs between Taiwan and the 18 countries in Southeast Asia, South Asia and Australasia included in the New Southbound Policy will be strengthened, in line with a win-win cooperation model.

NSYSU Senior Vice President Yang-Yih Chen, who specializes in technologies for the generation of electricity from marine currents, also attended the event. He emphasized that NSYSU has already institutionalized the industry-academia cooperation with South-East Asian countries, and has recently focused research and resources of marine sciences to organize the Forum after one year of preparations. Taiwan and many South-East Asian countries rely on marine resources and on the development of marine-related industries to support their populations and establish important relations and interaction with other countries by emphasizing that concern for the ocean-is the key linking element. The ocean is a treasure of the entire humanity: it regulates the climate and plays an important role in biological diversity, culture formation, economic activity, transport and navigation, tourism and leisure, education and research. Close cooperation of Taiwan and other South-East Asian countries in these fields is going to result in a remarkable contribution to the development of the Asia-Pacific region.

Since the New Southbound Policy was introduced in Taiwan in September 2016, regional agriculture development is being lined up for one of five key development issues. NSYSU received a lot of support from the Ocean Affairs Council to steadily build a connection with the marine industry in South-East Asia. This Forum created new opportunities for cultural exchange, technological cooperation and local development, and was an effort and contribution for regional food security and sustainability.

(edited by Public Affairs Division)
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