01 February 2013

Subic Hosts SEA Marine Symposium

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT - With the frequent stranding of whales and dolphins in the country, many wildlife conservationists will be holding the first-ever Southeast Asian Marine Mammal Stranding Network Symposium and Workshop here.

Slated in the first week of February, the two-part event is made possible by the Ocean Adventure, Ocean Park Conservation Foundation Hong Kong and Wildlife in Need in collaboration with the University of the Philippines, Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology and the Philippine Marine Mammal Stranding Network.

An officer of Ocean Adventure said the symposium and workshop aims to engage stakeholders and experts from the academic community, government, industry and non-government agencies in an exchange of knowledge about the current and future affairs of marine mammal stranding incidents in the region.

He added that it is also to advance a One World Health view in recognition of marine mammals as valuable sentinels of ocean and human health.

The tentative list of participants include marine mammal stranding experts, scientists and networks from the Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, and Japan.

This event comes in two parts: the Symposium that will be held on February 4-6; and the Training Workshop that will be held on February 7-9. Participants have an option to attend both.

"The objective of the symposium is to share knowledge and experiences in marine mammal stranding activities from all over the region. It also aims to discuss and plan the formation of a Regional Marine Mammal Stranding Network/Association whose purpose would be to disseminate knowledge, best practices, and shared experience of marine mammal strandings, to advance a One World Health regional view and recognition of marine mammals and their strandings as valuable sentinels of ocean and human health," he said.

He added that the objectives of the training workshop are to impart knowledge about the various aspects of marine mammals strandings, including anatomy, biology, causes of stranding incidents, first response, rehabilitation, decision-making, and public concerns, among others. (Jonas Reyes, Manila Bulletin)