Dr. Hiroshi Ogata : ordinary people are AQD’s bosses

SEAFDEC/AQD's Deputy Department Chief, Dr. Hiroshi Ogata, a Japanese national, considers himself the representative of "Japanese experts who have exerted themselves sincerely for the development of AQD in the last 35 years" but who are, unfortunately, not able to attend the July 11 anniversary ceremony at AQD's main station in Tigbauan, Iloilo, Philippines.

"I am also proud that the Government of Japan and the Japanese experts have been part of the institutional advancement of AQD and technology development of tropical aquaculture together with you, distinguished AQD staff. In addition, I wish to express our sincere thanks to you all, for your Filipino hospitality and friendliness that have been given to Japanese experts and their families for the last 35 years.

"As you are aware, Japan's Official Development Assistance mechanism, specifically rendered to SEAFDEC had shifted from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through JICA to the Trust Fund of the Fisheries Agency which started in 1998. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Fisheries Agency have been providing technical and financial assistance to the development of aquaculture in the region, because they recognized the important role of aquaculture for the stable supply of food for the people not only in the region but also in the world. Since 1998 until now, SEAFDEC Aquaculture Department has accomplished 7 programs, of which 3 programs are still ongoing under the Japanese Trust Fund in collaboration with other SEAFDEC member countries. A number of useful findings and information have been accumulated by AQD through the implementation of the programs.

"Here, to represent Japan, and I would like to extend my highest appreciation to all who have actively participated in the implementation of the programs. I expect and hope that tangible results and accomplishments from the Japanese Trust Fund Programs can be appreciated by the end user.

"This year, AQD proposed 4 new Trust Fund Programs for 2010 and onward, aimed at promoting sustainable and responsible aquaculture and resource enhancement. Although the Fisheries Agency of Japan still have a hard time finding funds, I strongly hope that the Japanese Trust Fund Programs will continue to enable AQD to achieve the new goals and the strategic plans that were proposed and adopted this year.

"Personally, I started my career as a scientist 35 years ago. Today, I am somewhat emotional, because the 35th AQD anniversary reminds me where I was, what I was doing and what I was thinking 35 years ago. Although I had known AQD's activities since early 1980's through its publications in various international journals, my first chance of working here started in October, 2001. What I was so impressed about when I first came here is that AQD is a comprehensive organization, a professional family with the capability of implementing research & development, verification, dissemination and training for aquaculture in Southeast Asia. This may be not a special thing to you, but in Japan we have Research Institute of Aquaculture but, we don't have comprehensive organizations such as AQD And I want to emphasize that it is the individual and organizational capacity of our AQD that is evaluated internationally, being comprehensive and systematic is one of the Department's fortes, I would say.

"I also would like to mention another forte of AQD, that is, the technologies developed by the Department are based on science. Our science is not pure science but applied science or industrial science which is closely related to our existence and lives. As you know, we are now facing many issues such as climate change or price increases. Although in a sense, technology development based on science might have brought about the crisis of global warming, I think that we have to demonstrate that science also can contribute to a better world. We, applied scientists, can directly fight the issues and contribute to the solution through our science for our next generation. I think this is a wonderful thing. I am reassured by knowing that development and promotion of science-based technologies is one of the new goals of SEAFDEC/AQD.

"I urge AQD employees not to forget that as a staff of a public organization, we should recognize that we are public servants for ordinary people, because our salary comes not from the Government but from the ordinary people, who are our customers -- the ordinary people who is our boss -- ordinary people. The public support by ordinary people is essential in the subsistence of public organizations. I understand that concern for customer and the commitment to the localities are good traditions of AQD. Do not forget these things -- concern for ordinary people and the commitment to the localities, as long as AQD exists. I hope SEAFDEC/AQD will continue and move forward in reaching its new goals and mandates at the same time holding your good traditions together with ordinary people. Continue giving people a bright future and hope by your science and by your activities. I also wish that we could enjoy the 100th anniversary of SEAFDEC/AQD although not from here, but from the higher place."

"Best wishes for continued development, success, and happiness."

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