The 1st Joint Fisheries Committee Meeting between the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the Republic of the Philippines (PH) was held online last October 1, 2021, with a Philippine delegation composed of officials from DA, BFAR, NFRDI, and the Philippine Embassy in Seoul.

The meeting was hosted by the Korean Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF), chaired and co-chaired, respectively, by Director-General Dong-Sik Woo of the MOF – International Cooperation Bureau and USec. Cheryl Marie Natividad-Caballero, Department of Agriculture Undersecretary for Agro-Industrialization and Fisheries. The co-chairs shared the common understanding that the Philippines-Korea JFC meeting can provide significant benefits for both countries and serve as a platform to explore and identify potential areas of cooperation between the two countries. Other participants of the joint meeting were composed of officials and representatives from Korea’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries and the Philippine Department of Agriculture, together with its attached agencies.

In the bilateral meeting, the fisheries and aquaculture policies and best practices in both countries were discussed. The Korean delegates presented ROK’s 2nd Master Plan of Fisheries and Fishing Community Development for 2021-2025, advancements in fisheries and aquatic bioresources management, and experiences to mitigate contamination of shellfish growing areas. Moreover, the Philippines, through BFAR, shared its Fisheries Industry highlighting new developments, policies, and the challenges encountered by the country’s fisheries sector.

New Official Development Assistance (ODA) and technical cooperation projects were also discussed. This new partnership between the Philippines and Korea aims to strengthen international cooperation and the development of a platform and framework for Korean and Filipino experts to engage in technical consultation and discussions on issues concerning seafood trade, industry trading/sectors, technology transfer, and innovation. Moreover, the cooperation also seeks to strengthen capture fisheries and aquaculture through technology adoption and development, including postharvest, product value-adding, trade, and coastal and marine fishery management; facilitate the exchange of experiences, information, technologies, and expertise; and finally, facilitate the promotion of fisheries trade and business investments between Korea and the Philippines.

The 1st Joint Fisheries Committee Meeting successfully resounded the importance of forging partnerships in developing both countries’ fisheries industries and connectivity to the global food chain. Both parties are looking forward to the next JFC meeting with the Philippines, expressing intent to host by mid-2022 in Manila.

Through the Philippine Agriculture Office’s effort in Seoul, the first Philippines-Korea Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Fisheries Cooperation was signed by DA Secretary William D. Dar and MOF Minister Seong-hyuk Moon in November 2019 on the occasion of the ROK-ASEAN Commemorative Summit held in Busan.

Virtual Photo with the Korean and Philippine delegation