Profiles of Filipino Fisheries Scientists

Monday, July 16, 2007

Philippine Pioneer Fisheries Technologist

by Melchor F. Cichon
July 16, 2007

One of the earliest Filipino fisheries technologists was Dr. Silvestre V. Bersamin.

Born in Bangued, Abra on December 31, 1919, Dr. Bersamin became the Chief of Fishery Technologist and Chief of the Fisheries Utilization Division, Philippine Fisheries Commission on February 25, 1964.

Dr. Bersamin finished B.S. Fisheries at the University of the Philippines in 1942. He then took his M.S. in Zoology at the University of Sto. Tomas in 1954. In 1964, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.

His parents were Luis Bersamin and Teodora Valera.

His wife was Maria Belisario whom he married in April, 1944. They had six children: Daisy Jean, Cherie Edna, Venice Rowan, Jerome Ralph, Ruby Pearl, and Scarlet Rose.

Dr. Bersamin held several positions before he became the Chief of Fishery Technology Division of the Philippine Fisheries Commission. He was a medical technologist and Chief Clerk of the Medical and Surgical Staff, Base Hospital, U.S. Armed Forces in the Pacific in 1945. The next year he became the Registrar-Instructor of the Philippine Police Detective Academy.

But he was not destined to become a military personnel. In 1946, he became an instructor in Zoology and Botany at the University of Manila.

But he again switched to his first love—fisheries—in 1949 when he was hired as Junior Fish Culturist and Fishery Biologist. From there he rose to become the Chief of Fisheries Utilization Division of the Philippine Fisheries Commission on February 25, 1964.

Dr. Bersamin received several awards.

Some of which are as follows: He was a fisheries fellow at the U.S. Department of the Interior from 1948 to 1949. From 1955 to 1957, he was a Foreign Student Fellow at the University of Michigan and in 1964, UNESCO awarded him a Fellowship on Marine Sciences.

From there, this writer has no more information about him except that he was a professor and chairman of the Biological Science Department, Graduate School and member of the Dean’s Council of the University of Sto. Tomas in 1965.

What he has is a list of Dr. Bersamin’s publications.

From 1949 to 1965, Dr. Bersamin wrote 29 articles on fisheries particularly on fisheries technologies.

Four of his notable contributions on Philippine fisheries are the following:

Determination of the Vitamin D potency of certain fishery products by the biological method. Sea Echo, December 1949.

Availability of calcium in bagoong alamang, dried alamang, canned bangos, oyster shell and balut. Silvestre V. Bersamin, Olympia N. Gonzales and Jose Sulit. Philippine Journal of Fisheries, July-December 1955, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 85-95.

The effect of kalamansi juice on the preservation and keeping quality of fresh shrimps. Silvestre V. Bersamin, A. S. Legaspi and N. G. Macalinlag. Indo-Pacific Fisheries Council Proceedings, 10th session, Seoul, Korea, 1962, Section II.

Fish hydrolyzates from commercial Philippine species, Part I. Preliminary studies on hydrolized fish protein. L. G. Salcedo, G. Guevara and Silvestre V. Bersamin. Indo-Pacific Fisheries Council Proceedings, 11 session, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Oct 16-31, IPFC/C64/Tech. 23.

Source: His bio-data. 6 leaves. Typed written. No date