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Ministerial Session


ANNEX 5 Ministerial Session



Proceedings: Volume I



WELCOME REMARKS by Mr. Dhammarong Prakobboon

Director-General, Department of Fisheries, Thailand

Your Excellency, the Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives of Thailand, Your Excellencies, distinguished Ministers, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen

It gives me very great pleasure to extend to you all the warmest possible welcome to this most hospitable nation, Thailand.

The Government of Thailand is most happy to host this Conference not only because Thailand is a member nation of ASEAN-SEAFDEC, but also because the discussions at this Conference will have a far-reaching and beneficial effect upon fisheries in Southeast Asia.

We are indebted to the far-sighted thinking of the ASEAN Foundation and the work of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center for bringing about this meaningful dialogue.

The magnificent support of the Government of Japan, the support and expertise of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the many other bodies which have contributed to the Conference are also deeply appreciated. Without the supports, this conference could not have come about at all.

Your Excellencies,

While the support for this conference is a vital factor, of even greater significant are the pronouncements of the Technical Session that proceeded in the last four days. In those pronouncements lie the seeds which, with the dedication that exists in the corridors of fisheries expertise, can herald a new era in our predominantly small-scale fisheries. “Fish for the People” is a very apt title.

With growing populations, the greater industrialization of the region, and increasing demand for fish and fishery products in the worldwide market, the pressures on our fisheries resources will surely grow and environmental and ecological impacts will increase. We must plan and work now so that there will be no further degradation.

This Conference allows us to fashion the building blocks of the future of regional fisheries and gives us the foundation for this and future generations to continue the work. “Fish for the People” is no idle speculation but a pressing and vital necessity for the well-being of our food security. The road ahead will not be easy, but you have my assurance that Thailand will work hard to achieve the objectives of the conference.

This is why this conference is so important and timely. We must grasp the opportunity of this Conference to agree upon frameworks and strategies for managing our living marine and aquaculture resources within the context of a viable and expanding ecosystem.

Your Excellencies,

ASEAN-SEAFDEC Conference: “Fish for the People”


I now wish to commend wholeheartedly the great efforts made by those attending the plenary session in their presentation of papers and in the sharing of their experience. I would also like to acknowledge the steering committees, the technical consultations and most particularly the work that goes on in the back-rooms to make the conference like this one successful. All of the people who contributed to this Conference have contributed to our fisheries and to the enhancement of the environments of our nations. Their works has paved the way and laid foundations of great value.

At the beginning of this Session the challenge was made to all the distinguished national representatives and participants to contribute to a result we may all be proud of. You have responded magnificently.

Your Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen;

I wish now to invite H.E. Mr. Shucheep Hansaward, the Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives of Thailand to deliver the Opening Address and declare the Ministerial Session of the Conference open.

Proceedings: Volume I


OPENING ADDRESS by H.E. Mr. Shucheep Hansaward Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Thailand

Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies & Gentlemen;

It is indeed an honour for me to be here among the distinguished delegates who are responsible for fisheries in the ASEAN region. You are ASEAN’s finest captains of fisheries since your decisions, your deliberations will determine and influence the direction and policies on fisheries in the ASEAN Member Countries in the future. I am, therefore, most appreciative to have this opportunity to share with you some of my thoughts on Thailand’s policy on fisheries for food security.

I note with appreciation the detailed report provide by the Director-General of Fisheries on the initiative efforts as well as budget contributed in increasing supplies of fish and fishery products in the ASEAN region. I understand that many decisions we have taken during the past five days have gone beyond our expectations.

The Draft Plan of Action on Sustainable Fisheries for Food Security for the ASEAN Region and the Draft Resolution on Sustainable Fisheries for Food Security for the ASEAN Region, which were considered and adopted at the meeting of SEAFDEC Council Directors and ASEAN Senior Officials to be presented for the consideration and adoption at this Ministerial Session will clearly spell out ASEAN’s agenda in fisheries in the future. What it shows is that we are prepared and ready to move with the new trends for the improvement of our policies in fisheries. I may say that it is a new chapter for better management of fisheries in ASEAN.


My government has placed great emphasis on sustainable fishery resources management. In this regard, I have much pleasure to inform you all that under the present Constitution which is entered into force in the year 1997, the government agencies have to decentralize selected management authority, responsibility and functions to local communities or resource users.

As for fisheries sector, some management authority has been gradually decentralized to give people responsibility to manage their fisheries sustainability as well as the environmental issues and enjoy a sense of participation. This type of public and local cooperation is considered as the most effective as it combines the efforts and capabilities of both sectors for maximum results.

I wish to reiterate that the Government of Thailand is well aware the important role of fisheries in the food security scheme, which requires the urgent plans of action for the benefit of mankind. In this regard, annual budget has been allocated for various projects to increase fish production for local consumption and export since the demand for fish and fishery products are continuously increased. This is due to the growing of our population and the increase of fish and fishery products in their diet. We have pushed through a number of major projects such as the increase of fish population in natural waters, the exploitation of under- exploited fisheries resources since these resources may be a vital source of food security, the maximum utilization of existing catch, which will greatly improve food security. More importantly, concentration has been placed on the aquaculture, which will undoubtedly be increasing importance in the sustainability of the fisheries and food security.

ASEAN-SEAFDEC Conference: “Fish for the People”

80 Excellencies,

We are very concerned of the sustainable fisheries and its significant as the contributor to food security for the region. We intend to play our part to live up to our responsibility and are ready to work with countries, international and regional organizations because we understand that the management of sustainable fisheries in order to maintain supply of food requires cooperation from all. No one nation can tackle the issue successfully on its won. Thailand will honour the international obligations and will continue to participate and constructively engage in regional fisheries policies as a responsible member of ASEAN.

I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to all those responsible for organizing this Conference, particularly to SEAFDEC, ASEAN Foundation, the Government of Japan and Conference Secretariat. I wish you all the best in this Conference and look forward to receiving reports of your dynamic and fruitful debate and discussion.

Thank you.

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BRUNEI DARUSSALAM Statement by H.E. Mr. Idris Belaman,

Permanent Secretary

representing the Minister of Industry and Primary Resources

Mr. Chairman, Distinguished Honorable Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen,

First and foremost I would like to thank H.E. Mr. Shucheep Hansaward, the Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Thailand for the invitation to this Ministerial Session. At this juncture, I would also like to convey my Minister’s best wishes and his regrets for not being able to be with you today due to unavoidable domestic commitments.

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

To begin with I would like to commend the ASEAN-SEAFDEC Senior Officials on the job well done and the comprehensive reporting on the outcome of the Senior Officials Meeting as well as the Technical Sessions of the Conference.

From the reports presented, it is clear to me that the products from our fisheries have become ever more relevant to the people of Southeast Asia.

Indeed the supportive role that fisheries resources will play in enhancing the economic, social and quality of life of our population can only grow in importance as our population increases and as we turn more and more to the marine world for our food supply and as a source of income.

It is because of this ever increasing importance of our fisheries resources that we cannot overstate the relevance of this Conference and the urgency of its theme of ‘Sustainable Fisheries for Food Security in the New Millennium: Food for the People’.

In the last decade or so, we have seen annual fish production rates for the ASEAN-SEAFDEC countries increase by over 40% in response to high regional population growth, ever increasing regional demand for fish and fish products and of course to the increases in the global demand for seafood.

But as we all know, we find ourselves facing the most inevitable dilemma of demand outstripping supply. There is no doubt in my mind that, we should endeavor to fully realize the economic benefits of our fisheries resources.

However, there is particular danger that in the race to meet the ever-growing demand and to cash into the globally lucrative seafood market, we will be doing irreparable damage to our know marine fish stocks which will in the long term be detrimental not only to the economic

ASEAN-SEAFDEC Conference: “Fish for the People”


well being of our people but may also have terrible consequences for our vital marine ecosystems and the health of our coastal populations.

It is therefore clear that we need to pay more than just lip-service when we speak of

“efficiency” and “sustainability” in the management of our fisheries resources. The two terms must interact together because whilst “efficiency” may allow us to achieve optimum economic returns from fisheries, “sustainability” will allow us to ensure and indeed enhance both the economic and social future of the fisheries industries and our marine environment.

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

In this regard I note with great satisfaction that this Conference has gone to considerable lengths in emphasizing the inseparable interaction and linkages between efficiency and sustainability. I am also very encouraged to see that our experts from all ASEAN-SEAFDEC countries participated in discussing these important issues. This is a reflection of our awareness and commitment to the importance of ensuring the sustainability of our fisheries resources, not only for the sake of the people whose livelihoods depended on fisheries, but also for the economic and social well being of the region as a whole.

I am further delighted that the report shows that various relevant and critical aspects that contribute to ensuring achievability of our goal towards sustainable fisheries resources in the region are being comprehensively looked into and considered in the formulation of the Resolution and the proposed Plan of Action. The Resolution and the Plan of Action will no doubt help us to further strengthen our efforts in this area and provide guidance towards more appropriate future fisheries related policy directions.

To my mind, however, the key success factor of any programs, projects or activities arising from this Conference will very much hinge upon whether the aspirations outlined in the draft Resolution and proposed Plan of Action, CAN reach and subscribe to at all levels not only the policy makers and the managers but also the fishermen, fish farmers, fish traders, fish processors and so on.

More often than not, it is very difficult if not impossible, to translate plans and aspiration into practice. It has been proven time and again that overall, programs fail because the “normal”, run-of-the-mill awareness and educational programs, fail to achieve the desired goals of changing the attitude and way of life of the people concerned towards more sustainable fisheries practices and outlook.

We must recognize that great efforts are required to change our peoploe’s mind-sets and that these efforts cannot be successful overnight nor can they be achieved through short term one- time projects. Therefore we will not only require patience, perseverance and time, but also the vital concerted efforts and commitment from all concerned, if we are to realistically avoid failure.

We need to act now if not yesterday, to ensure our future generations will still be able to benefit from our fisheries resources. And indeed in formulating appropriate strategies we should look to our future generations by focusing our awareness and educational programs on our younger generations, as they will be the implementers who will inherit our aspiration in shaping the future of our fisheries. Their commitment is not only crucial for ensuring the

Proceedings: Volume I


continuity of our efforts but is also absolutely necessary if we are to realize any of our long- term goals.

The ASEAN-SEAFDC governments and institution must maintain a continual emphasis on putting more efforts and resources into research and development oriented programs in areas of resource enhancement, resource re-habilitation as well as post-harvest and product development and improvement. The continual development of human resources capability in these areas should also be further strengthened, as human resources are the key to ensuring the self-sustainability of our projects whilst also addressing our need for expertise to continuously monitor the status of our resources as well as maintaining our seafood safety and quality.

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Last 25 years has seen much encouraging regional development of our fisheries. Much of this development can be attributed to the dedicated efforts of the SEAFDEC and its 4 technical arms throughout Southeast Asia. Indeed, I could say that in our region SEAFDEC has become synonymous with fisheries development and they should be congratulated for their achivements. I would also be remiss of me if I did not take this opportunity to than the Government of Japan for the endless support to SEAFDEC in ensuring the success of our work. In sincerely and very much hope that the Government of Japan will continue its support for SEAFDEC, even in these less than ideal economic times.

Finally, I like to take this opportunity to once again thank the Government of Thailand for the warmth and hospitality accorded to me and my delegations in attending this session.

Thank you.

ASEAN-SEAFDEC Conference: “Fish for the People”


Statement by H.E. May Sam Oeun Secretary of State,

Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure for me on behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia and the Cambodian delegates would like to extent our warm welcome to all your excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen participating in the " Conference on Sustainable Fishery for the Food Security in the New Millennium: Fish for the People" aiming to develop a regional policy and action plan on the sustainable fisheries contribution to the food security in the ASEAN region.

The fisheries resources and the environment in Cambodia are a great common natural asset of our people since ancient time. As the fisheries resources are important, fishes and the fisheries is carved on the wall of our historical Angkor Wat Temple. Fish is our preferred food consumed daily and therefore the sustainable supply of fish has to be paid attention.

However as the rapid increase of the Cambodian population, especially in the last two decades, have accelerate the pace of exploitation of these natural resources which have led to the decline of the resources and the environmental degradation. The experience of fishery development and management in Cambodia we have seen many of the current practices on the fisheries including aquaculture had to be rectified in order to minimize adverse impact on the aquatic environment. Implication of the appropriate fisheries management for the establishment of the sustainable fisheries development in Cambodia as well as in the region should be pursued.

The conference being organized is an important opportunity for us to meeting here for formulating plan for actions and the regional fisheries policy for the sustainable fisheries. This is also an excellent opportunity for us to establish our close cooperation and joint effort between the ASEAN-SEAFDEC member countries and other organizations for the sustainable development and management of the fisheries ensuring the stable supply of fish and fisheries products.

The conference is an important step to promote the awareness on sustainable fisheries and its implication to direct participation and solidarity among the countries in the region. We principally support " the Plan of Action and Resolution on Sustainable Fisheries for Food Security for the ASEAN Region " that we have jointly made. We hope for the excellent outcome from the participation from all ASEAN-SEAFDEC member countries, other organizations, and stakeholders to implement this plan and to achieve our whole goals.

It is my hope that the cooperating countries and international organizations will provide the ASEAN countries under the coordination of the SEAFDEC the most substantial support and assistance, thus contributing to the Southeast Asian Region the increasingly prosperous and sustainability of the resources.

Proceedings: Volume I


On this important occasion, I wish to extend my deep appreciation to SEAFDEC, ASEAN, FAO and other organizations for jointly organizing this important ASEAN-SEFDEC event.

We would also like to thank SEAFDEC and Japan for the sponsorship and the Department of fisheries Thailand for hosting this conference and their warm hospitality.

In closing, allow me to convey the best wishes of the Royal Government of Cambodia, the Cambodian delegates, and our people to your Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen. I look forwards to the relation, friendship, cooperation and joint effort between the SEAFDEC-ASEAN member countries and other organizations for the sustainable fisheries development in the region.

To everyone, my good wishes and thanks for your kind attention.