Department of Agriculture
Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources
October 23, 2012
United States, Philippines launch new partnership to promote the sustainability of the country's fisheries sector
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) launched a new project that will help improve the management of the Philippines’ marine and coastal resources.
The Ecosystems Improved for Sustainable Fisheries (ECOFISH) Project is a five-year technical assistance project designed to protect and manage eight marine key biodiversity areas (MKBAs) in the country, namely, the Calamianes Group of Islands in Palawan, Lingayen Gulf in Pangasinan, Ticao Pass-Lagonoy Gulf-San Bernardino Strait in Bicol and Samar region, Danajon Double Barrier Reef in Bohol and Leyte, Southern Negros Occidental, Surigao provinces, the Sulu Archipelago and the Verde Island Passage in Batangas and Mindoro area.
USAID Environment Chief Rolf Anderson said, “ECOFISH aims to conserve biological diversity, enhance ecosystem productivity, and restore profitability of fisheries using ecosystem-based approaches to create broader social, economic and environmental impacts.”
The Philippines currently ranks 8th in total fisheries production globally. Recent national stock assessment report, however, stated that two-thirds of the 12 major fishing bays in the country are overfished. There is also indication that the catch rates of reef fisheries as among the lowest in the world, partly due to the use of dynamite and cyanide in fishing.
“Excessive fishing has resulted in the decrease in average sizes of fishes, shifts in species composition, and steep decline in abundance of valuable species. If this continues, fish production may not only decrease but it may also collapse,” DA-BFAR Director Asis G. Perez said.
Under ECOFISH, BFAR hopes to reverse the trend by establishing and implementing technical training programs, supporting local governments in improving management of municipal marine waters, and facilitating collaboration between governments, institutions, and private sector partners.
The project will also establish and enhance inter-municipal government alliances, establish a national training program for local and national government personnel involved in fisheries, undertake programs that will result to increase in fish population, identify opportunities for fishing communities to gain employment and improve their livelihood, and generate public-private sector partnership to support sustainable fisheries management.
|ECOFISH Project Launching. Head proponents of the Ecosystems Improved for Sustainable Fisheries or ECOFISH Project (L to R) Mr. Geronimo Silvestre, Chief of Party and Mr. Rolf Anderson, Chief of Department of Energy and Environment Office of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in partnership with DA Secretary Proceso J. Alcala and BFAR Director Asis G. Perez happily unveiled the ECOFISH Project Sites’ Map during the launching of the project last October 17, 2012 at the PCA Covered Court in Diliman, Quezon City.
||ECOFISH Project . BFAR Director Asis G. Perez (center, in white) sat down with the head proponents of the ECOFISH Project (left side of Director Perez) Mr. Geronimo Silvestre, Keery Reeves, Thomas Buck, Nygiel Armada of Tetra Tech and Rina Rosales; (right side of Director Perez) Mayor Marcos of LMP and Rolf Anderson of USAID, (at the back of Dir. Perez) Becky Guieb of USAID and Rizalier Amolo of CCEF; and (the last in white shirt) a representative from REECS for a small talk on the project after the press conference that followed the launching same date, October 17, 2012. The photo was taken at the office of Director Perez.