The Department of Agriculture-National Fisheries Research and Development Institute (DA-NFRDI) joined international and local stakeholders from the government, civil society organizations, higher educational institutions, and fishery/aquaculture industry in an effort to monitor, forecast, and report the effectiveness of management decisions on coastal and ocean sustainability, through the first international meeting and workshop on Coastal Ocean Assessment for Sustainability and Transformation (COAST) Card held on February 27-28, 2023 at the Manila Hotel.

COAST Card is a stakeholder-driven tool that enables forecasting the effectiveness of future management scenarios on environmental, economic, and social aspects across six coastal regions around the world, including Manila Bay.

Representing NFRDI were Dr. Mudjekeewis Santos, Scientist IV and chief of the Training Division, and researchers from the Save Manila Bay Project of the Capture Fisheries Research and Development Division (CFRDD), namely Noimie Rose Dicdiquin, Ellaine Jose, Marvin Tobias, Renalyne Acosta, and James Lee Abad.

Dr. Santos served as the emcee during the plenary presentation, panel discussion, and workshop. He is also a member of COAST’s Engagement Team, which coordinates research activities and stakeholder engagement across all project sites.

Research studies from the Save Manila Bay Project were featured in the poster session: 1) population parameters of Japanese Threadfin Beam in Manila Bay; 2) composition, distribution, and abundance of ichthyoplankton in Manila Bay; 3) concentration and distribution of heavy metals in water and sediments of Manila Bay; and 4) the gillnet fishery of Manila Bay.

In addition, CFRDD researchers actively participated in the workshop by providing inputs on identified threats in Manila Bay, corresponding indicators, and possible mitigations.

Part of the five-day activity included a stakeholders’ open-house workshop held at the Philippine Coast Guard Headquarters and a writeshop held at the University of the Philippines Diliman on March 1-3, 2023.

The COAST Project is funded by Belmont Forum, an international partnership that mobilizes funding for environmental change research to foster solutions to global sustainability challenges. Partner countries for the said project are Philippines, India, Japan, Norway, and United States of America. ### (Cyrenes Moncawe)