Profiles of Filipino Fisheries Scientists

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Dr. Jesus Juario: The A1 Filipino Fisheries Scientist


Melchor F. Cichon

Revised version received from Dr. Juario, July 31, 2008

In 2007, I prepared a site that features the birthdays of famous Filipinos in different fields like sports, business, movies, and science.

One of those that I included was Dr. Jesus Juario, a Filipino fisheries scientist.

I have read a lot about him, especially his contribution in the spawning of captured milkfish that became the basis for the development of the milkfish, siganid and seabass hatchery technologies at SEAFDEC AQD (1977 – 1986).

Since I am biased towards people who are trailblazers, I wanted to interview Dr. Juario to know more about him. Unfortunately, I really had no chance to be near him. If ever I had the chance to be close to him, I could not also talk to him as he was always busy.

When I became a member of the search committee to select a dean of the UPV Cebu College, I was in this college for about two days. I thought it was a good chance for me to interview him. I was not lucky. He was too busy for me.

Meanwhile, I collected some articles about him and compiled a list of his publications.

Of course, that collection of mine was not enough. I knew he has done so much that I was not aware of.

Then one afternoon someone told me that Dr. Juario wanted to get my email address.

Unfortunately, again, I could not give one because somebody hacked my email and I had not applied for a new one.

Two months after, I accidentally found his email address.

I emailed him and inquired why he was asking for my email address.

He said he found in a google site that I wrote something about him and he wanted to update me of his many accomplishments particularly his publications, the seminars/workshops he attended and more.

In our next email exchanges, he hinted that he was already in the United States of America. I had been thinking that he was still teaching in UPV Cebu College, Cebu City, Philippines where many of his brilliant ideas flourished. I did not remember that he turned down the offer to run as UPV Chancellor in 2005 because he only had about a year and a half left before his retirement, and he wanted to join his wife and children in the US upon retirement from UP Visayas as a faculty member.

To quench my thirst, he sent me a copy of his biobrief and a summary of his accomplishments. With very little editing, I am presenting here his inspiring profile:

Dr. Jesus Villarosa Juario was born on August 6, 1942 in Carcar, Cebu. He is the youngest son in a family of five. He graduated Bachelor of Science in Zoology magna cum laude from the University of San Carlos, Cebu City, in March 1963, and finished his Master of Science in Zoology at the University of Hawaii, U.S.A., in May 1967 through an East-West Center Graduate Scholarship. His Ph.D. degree focused on Biology (Marine Biology) with a grade of "sehr gut" at the University of Hamburg, Germany through a German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst) Graduate Scholarship in July 1974.

Developed to become a scientist, Dr. Juario worked on marine nematodes.

As a scientist, Dr. Juario erected one genus and described 11 new species of free-living marine nematodes while working for his doctoral degree at the Institute for Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany. Together with other scientists from the Aquaculture Department of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC AQD), he developed the technique to capture and transport wild adult milkfish and rear them in captivity. In April 1977, together with Dr. Hiralal Chaudhuri, he spawned for the first time wild adult milkfish in captivity and subsequently confirmed that the fry collected by Delsman in 1929 from Indonesian waters and identified by him as milkfish were indeed milkfish fry. The results of their study were presented in Paimpont, France during the international symposium on the Reproductive Physiology of Fishes (Sept. 19-22, 1977). In the years that followed, he developed together with Ms. Marietta N. Duray, the technique to spawn milkfish, Chanos chanos, in captivity and later on the technique to spawn the siganid, Siganus guttatus, and the sea bass, Lates calcarifer, in captivity and rear the resulting larvae to metamorphosis. This formed as the basis for the development of the milkfish, siganid and seabass hatchery technology at SEAFDEC AQD (1977 – 1986). In 1979, he had a chance to work with Dr. I-Chiu Liao as an exchange scientist at the Tungkang Marine Laboratory in Taiwan on the hatchery of the grey mullet, Mugil cephalus, and with Dr. Ching Ming Kuo in 1980 as an exchange scientist at the Oceanic Institute in Hawaii to work on milkfish hatchery. As a research fellow at the Johannes-Gutenberg University in Mainz, Frankfurt, Germany, he worked with Prof. Dr. R. Reinboth (June to July 1982) on certain aspects of milkfish reproduction and with Prof. Dr. Volker Storch (August to September 1982) of the University of Heidelberg to develop a rapid technique of assessing the nutritional quality of feed/diets through electron microscopy. Together with Prof. Storch and Mr. Helmut Segner, a doctoral candidate, he has shown for the first time through electron microscopy that milkfish larvae could not digest Chlorella, the phytoplankton commonly used at that time together with rotifers to rear milkfish larvae to metamorphosis.

Because of his expertise in milkfish/finfish hatchery and culture, he was hired by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) as the UNDP Aquaculture Expert for the Republic of Kiribati (September 1984 to June 1986) to explore the possibility of establishing a milkfish hatchery in Christmas Island (Kiritimati) and to develop, using local resources, a technique of producing milkfish fingerlings in ponds to be used as tuna baits.

In September 1986, Dr. Juario decided to leave SEAFDEC AQD and teach full time at the University of the Philippines in the Visayas Cebu College (UPVCC) so he could be with his family. While teaching at UPVCC, he was hired as a consultant by several private companies that were into milkfish/finfish and prawn hatchery and culture. One of the companies that hired him as a consultant was the Atlas Prawn Corporation in Balamban, Cebu. Together with its Fisheries Technicians, he developed a pond culture technique for the production of grouper fingerlings from fry collected from the wild, a technique for the commercial production of marketable-sized grouper in cages, and for the live transport of grouper fingerlings and marketable-sized fish.

In recognition of his works and significant contribution to Marine Biology, especially to the aquaculture industry in the Philippines, the Department of Science and Technology, Region VII, chose him in 1990 as the Outstanding Scientist for Region VII.

In 1995-1996, Dr. Juario together with a DED consultant, Dr. Jörg Pilz used GIS to develop a Coastal Environmental Information System (CEIS) for the Management of Marine Resources in Cebu. After the institution of the CEIS Project at UPVCC, he was able to get research grants from USAID, DED, BFAR-FRMP and GTZ. This enabled him to involve several biology, social sciences faculty and graduate students to conduct studies related to coastal resource management and encouraged them to publish their results in peer-reviewed journals.

While a faculty member at UPVCC, he was also hired as a World Bank consultant for the preparation of the Central Visayas Regional Project Phase 2 Proposal for the Fisheries Sector – a community-based coastal resource management approach (Jan. 15, 1995 – April 15, 1995) and as PRIMEX consultant for the preparation of a project proposal supported by Asian Development Bank on "Integrated Milkfish Broodstock and Hatchery Fry Production for Western Visayas," (April 16, 1995 to May 15, 1995).

He was appointed chairperson of CHED’s Regional Quality Assessment Team for Science and Mathematics (1995 to 2000), of the Technical Evaluation Committee for the multimillion Fisheries Sector Research Projects (Aquaculture Research Projects) of the Dept. of Agriculture (1995,1996), of the Technical Evaluation Committee of the multimillion high impact AFMA Projects of the Dept. of Agriculture, Bureau of Agricultural Research (1999), of the Technical Committee that reviews research proposals from the Visayas for PCAMRD-DOST funding (1995 to 2004) and of the Technical Committee of BFAR-VII that reviews research proposals and determines together with participants from different universities and colleges, the private sector, people’s and non-government organizations, the research directions of BFAR-VII (1990-2006).

In addition, he usually chaired the Technical Committee created by DENR-VII to review EIA, IEE and EIS (Feb. 2000 – 2006) before the issuance of ECCs. He was also a member of the screening committee created by NEDA to award graduate degree scholarships and training grants to applicants from the Visayas.

Dr. Juario, has been invited as speaker/resource person in many seminars, workshops and short term trainings related to aquaculture including the series of seminars held by the Technology and Livelihood Resource Center in Manila and to speak on topics related to Environmental/Coastal Resource Management and preparing research proposals and scientific papers for publication in peer reviewed journals.

During his sabbatical leave in 2003-2004, he was hired by USAID through DAI (Development Alternatives Inc.) as Fisheries Specialist and as LGU CRM Planning Specialist to facilitate the formulation of the CRM Plan for the Municipalities of Poro and Tudela in Camotes and Balamban, Cebu.

Together with some UPV faculty, he also facilitated the formulation of the CRM Plan for the municipality of Dumangas through a CIDA-funded project, "Principles in Practice in Ocean and Coastal Governance."

His legendary examinations and teaching methods had given him a very special place in the hearts of the many undergraduate and graduate students he had taught through the years. His unwavering principle and emphasis on academic excellence has made him a standard for the UPVCC biology faculty and students to emulate. His commitment to students is not only limited to class hours. He offers tutorials and group reviews and makes his consultation hours enjoyable.

In recognition of his accomplishments as a teacher and researcher and his services to the community, he was chosen by the University of the Philippines in the Visayas as the most Outstanding Faculty of UPVCC for 1986-1989 and by Metrobank as the Most Outstanding Teacher (College Level) for 1992 representing the provinces in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

As the former Chairperson of the Natural Sciences Division and Dean of UPVCC, Dr. Juario had accomplished considerable and significant improvements and projects that far exceeded the achievements of previous administrators of the College.
To put everything in a nutshell, he was the very first Dean to be awarded a resolution by the UPVCC Student Council acknowledging his exceptional legacies and major contributions to the College. In addition, he received a Plaque of Recognition from the Civil Service Commission for being chosen as the semi-finalist from the Visayas for the Civil Service Pag-asa Award as an Academic Administrator and a very aptly worded Certificate of Appreciation from the UPV Chancellor which any Dean would surely dream to have.

Popularly known to the faculty, staff and students as a "hands-on" Dean, during his term new laboratories (biology, computer science, physics, chemistry, psychology, computerized radio room, TV production room, newsroom, the darkroom and workshop for the Fine Arts) were constructed, sophisticated laboratory and audio-visual equipment were acquired and other facilities were built through the financial grants he procured from the Government of Japan, Senator John Osmeña and the late Senator Marcelo Fernan.

This truly reflects his commitment to provide UPVCC students with quality education and service. He firmly believes that if students and faculty members are provided with well equipped laboratories and comfortable and clean classrooms, then teaching and learning will be effective and creativity among faculty and students will be greatly enhanced. His professional work attitude, work ethics and dedication have been a model to his staff and colleagues, making them more efficient and accommodating, perhaps as a consequence of his strong belief in leadership by example.

Dr. Juario has authored and co-authored 19 papers published in ISI-indexed journals, 11 in peer–reviewed national journals, 5 in International Scientific Proceedings, 5 in other national journals and newsletters, and a chapter of the book, "Production of Aquatic Animals – Fishes" a World Animal Science Series published by Elsevier and edited by C.E. Nash and A.J. Novotny, and 16 technical reports. He edited 2 and co-edited 1 international scientific proceedings and had been the executive editor of the peer reviewed UPV Journal of Natural Sciences from 1995-2006. In addition, he has presented 19 papers in international and national conferences, symposia and workshops. As a service to the private sector, to the aquaculture industry, and to the community he has authored and co-authored 15 extension manuals on either the hatchery or culture of milkfish, siganids and groupers, on the culture of Eucheuma and Caulerpa and on coastal resource management. As a teacher and trainor, he prepared 10 lecture notes for the international and national training programs of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center, the UNDP/FAO Network of Aquaculture Centers in Asia and the University of the Philippines in the Visayas and lecture notes on Genetics, Animal Physiology, General Physiology, G.E. Biology and Scientific Writing for UPVCC students.

Dr. Juario is married to Dr. Hosanna A. Famador, an obstetrician-gynecologist and a registered nurse presently (2008) working in Florida. They are blessed with three sons: two are both doctors of medicine and physical therapists and are now working in Florida; the youngest, a nurse, will join them soon.

Looking back, here are some illuminating words from Dr. Juario when this writer asked his opinions on various issues that relate to Philippine fisheries science and Philippine fisheries industry.

M. Cichon (MC) 1. What made you focus your career in fisheries?

Dr. Juario (Dr. J) Our fishery resources are dwindling not only because of the destruction of natural habitats but also because of ineffective implementation of our fishery laws. I believe I would be helping our country a lot and could help most especially the municipal fishermen to improve their lives if I will focus my career in fisheries and aquaculture and develop techniques or resource management schemes that would improve our dwindling fishery resources.

MC) 2. What do you consider your most important contribution to Philippine Fisheries?

Dr. J) 2a. The development of techniques, together with other SEAFDEC researchers, to spawn milkfish, Chanos chanos, the siganid, Siganus guttatus, and the seabass, Lates calcarifer, in captivity and rearing their resultant larvae to metamorphosis. The development of these techniques would improve the availability or supply of the fingerlings of these species for culture in ponds and cages. The results of my studies connected with the development of these techniques have been published in ISI-indexed journals (please refer to my list of publications).

Dr. J) 2b. The development of techniques, together with fisheries technicians from the Soriano – owned Atlas Prawn Corporation, to produce grouper fingerlings from wild caught fry for stocking in cages and the development of a technique to rear grouper fingerlings to marketable size in floating net cages. The results of these studies were presented in an international scientific conference.

(MC) 3. What makes Philippine Fisheries Science and Fisheries Industry so slow in their development and how can we tackle these two issues so that our future generations will have good memories about us?

(Dr. J) 3a. I think these are some of the most important reasons why Philippine Fisheries Science is so slow in its development:

(Dr. J) 3a.1 Unfortunately, the majority of our fisheries scientists do not and, in fact, many can not publish their works in ISI-indexed journals because there is something wrong with either the review of literature, data collection, experimental design or the way the paper is written. They would rather write a technical report, which is very easy to do, or publish their findings in local journals which do not require any peer review.

3a. 2) There are many colleges and universities offering graduate (masteral and doctoral) programs in Fisheries but their graduate faculty have not published a single paper in ISI-indexed journal or even in national peer-reviewed journals. Worse, most of these colleges and universities do not have subscriptions to or can not access ISI-indexed journals or at least Current Contents or Abstracts that would include ISI-indexed journals. This in turn would make it very difficult for fisheries scientists in these colleges or universities to write papers that could be published in ISI-indexed journals.

These two alone would significantly hinder the rapid development of fisheries science in the Philippines. To improve the rate of development of Philippine Fisheries Science: a) fisheries scientists should be encouraged to publish their works in ISI-indexed journals, for example, UP and SEAFDEC AQD give significant monetary rewards if their faculty members will publish in ISI-indexed journals; b) only colleges and universities that have the faculty with the appropriate graduate degree and publications in ISI-indexed or at least peer-reviewed journals and with appropriate journal subscriptions in their library should be allowed to offer graduate degrees in Fisheries.

(Dr. J) 3b. I think these are some of the most important reasons why The Fisheries Industry in the Philippines is slow in its development:

(Dr. J) 3b.1. Based on my personal observations, there is no effective coordination among the three national agencies (PCAMRD of DOST, BAR-BFAR of DA, and the ERDB of DENR) involved in Fisheries Research and Development. To worsen the situation, another R&D agency, the NFRDI, was created. It appears to me that NFRDI and PCAMRD may have more or less the same functions; I hope each institution will define their specific functions to avoid duplication in their activities. If coordination among these agencies are significantly improved or if there is only one agency that will be in charge of R&D in Fisheries, then it would be easier to identify research directions and priorities which in turn will facilitate or hasten the development of much needed technologies to improve fisheries or aquaculture production and the development of management schemes that will significantly increase fish population or significantly improve our fisheries and prevent further destruction of our coastal and/or marine resources.

(Dr. J) 3b.2. Unfortunately, there are still national funding agencies that give financial support to researchers who have never published in ISI-indexed nor even in national peer-reviewed journals. Usually the output of these researchers are not or can not be published in ISI-indexed nor in national peer-reviewed journals and will just end up as technical reports or papers published in local journals that are not included in Abstracts nor in Current Contents. Consequently, the output of these researchers will just fall under unverified techniques or technologies since experts from different parts of the world or even from the Philippines will have difficulty in accessing their papers or reports. Worse, the same national funding agencies continuously give financial support to these researchers or research institutions even if they have not published their findings in ISI-indexed journals especially if they have good connections with the funding institutions. This is, of course, a very big hindrance to the rapid development of our fisheries industry. National funding agencies should stop giving financial support to researchers who have not published their previous works in ISI-indexed journals to significantly improve the rate of development of our fisheries industry; or national funding agencies should make it a condition sine qua non for researchers to publish their findings in ISI-indexed journals if they will be given financial support. In addition, national funding agencies should also stop giving awards to papers that have not been previously published in ISI-indexed journals or papers that are presented in national conferences but which are not publishable even in national peer reviewed journals because there is something wrong with the review of literature, the experimental design and analysis of data. If our national funding agencies will continue to award papers which are not even publishable in national peer reviewed journals, this will give a wrong signal especially to our budding fisheries scientists and will surely be a hindrance to the rapid development of our fisheries science and industry.

(Dr. J) 3b.3. There is a very serious lack of good extension workers who can extend promising research results to our fisheries industry. A very good group of extension workers is a very important link between good research institutions/fisheries scientists and the industry. I firmly believe that if a very good group of extension workers would be available, this will enhance or significantly improve the rate of development of our fisheries industry. This same group of extension workers should be able to give a feedback to the scientists or generators of technology or management schemes as to how a newly developed production technique/technology or management scheme be improved to suit the needs of the local environment. Production technologies/techniques especially for fisheries and aquaculture and management schemes for coastal resources are very often not only species but also location specific.

(Dr. J.) 3b.4. The national government and the private sector do not give sufficient financial support to improve the capability of fisheries research institutions so these could contribute to the rapid development of fisheries science and industry.. Perhaps it might be better to have a separate Department of Fisheries so our government and, perhaps the private sector, can focus its attention on how to improve the rate of the development of our fisheries science and industry.
(Dr. J) 3b.5. Unfortunately, the implementation of our Fishery Laws is poor and ineffective. Violators (most especially owners of commercial fishing vessels) should be penalized regardless of who they are or regardless of their connections - political or personal. For as long as government officials will base their decision on patronage or electoral votes, the Fisheries Industry will stay as it is now in our country.

(Dr. J) 3b.6. Unfortunately, there are still a good number of people in the fisheries industry who would believe more in foreign or imported technology rather than help support or improve those generated by Filipino scientists who publish their results in ISI- indexed journals. This is, of course, very much related to our crab mentality. The Fisheries Industry can encourage or motivate Filipino scientists to be more creative and develop or improve better production techniques or better resource management schemes if the industry support them either by giving them financial support for their work or acknowledging what they have done for the industry.

(With additional inputs from Dr. Jesus Juario)

posted by Melchor F. Cichon @ 10:29 PM