The USAID Fish Right Program , a partnership between the Government of the United States and the Philippines to promote sustainable fisheries in southern Negros waters among two othr sites, was launched Thursday.
This is an ambitious US$ 25 million project which aims to address biodiversity threats, improve marine ecosystem governance, and increase fish biomass in selected marine key biodiversity areas(MKBAs) in the Philippines.
Dr Ben Malayang, head and chief principal investigator and coordinator said, building on the gains of previous USAID-supported coastal, marine and biodiversity conversation projects that introduced an ecosystem approach to fisheries management (EAFM), Fish Right will promote the sustainable use of critical coastal and marine resources, enhance the resilience of these resources and capacitate key actors on sustainable fisheries management.
The Program will give special attention to “wild” or capture fisheries and the communities that depend on them.
Specifically, the project Fish Right aims to protect , sustain, and make available to the people the following known varieties of fish in Negros waters namely:
Galonggong , Ihalason, Tulingan, Tamarong, and Anduhaw.These are without prejudice to other possible varieties of fish for coverage of the project. Much will also depend on the freedback of stakeholders especially the marginalized fishermen in the areas.
Fish Right will be implemented over the period of five years (2018-2023) by the University of Rhode Island in collaboration with a consortium of implementing partners namely:
Path Foundation Philippines Inc.
Silliman University, the Marine Environment and Resources Foundation , the
NGOs for Fisheries Reform Resonance, a sustainable fisheries partnership.
The Program team will also work closely with the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, coastal municipalities and local partners in its three program sites.
Fish Right will focus its implementation in three program sites at the Visayan Sea, Calamianes Island Group, at South Negros
At the end of five years, Fish Right’s goal across the three rites are:
1) to achieve at least a 10% increase in fish biomass and 2) to reduce threats to marine biodiversity. These program goals are expected to be achieved by employing six strategic approaches.
Malayang said, they intend to Increase management effectiveness of fisheries and coastal resources based on stakeholder agreements;
Next, they will strengthen institutional capacity and accountability to implement resilient and ecosystem-based fisheries management;
The Fish Rghtists will Improve the policy environment that enables a participatory and equitable governance system for resilient and ecosystem-based fisheries management;
They will enhance participation and leadership of resource users and stakeholders for coastal and marine biodiversity conversation and ecosystem-based fisheries management;
Develop capacities to mainstream resilience and ecosystem-based fisheries management ;and enhance partnerships and research and development support for coastal and marine biodiversity conversation and resilient and ecosystem-based fisheries management.
USAID FISH RIGHT
Lying at the apex of the Coral Triangle, a region that is known as the “global center of marine biodiversity”, the Philippines is recognized as the “center of the center of marine shore fish biodiversity”
It is ranked as one of the top fishing countries worldwide, recording an average of 4 million metric tons of fish catch every year. Fish and fish products provide food and livelihood for millions of Filipinos living in coastal communities.
The rich and precious marine biodiversity, however, has come under threat due to destructive and illegal fishing practices. These unsustainable fishing practices, exacerbated by climate change and the degradation of coral reefs and mangrove ecosystems, have significant impacts on food security, employment and livelihoods. For instance, the productivity of “wild” fisheries has leveled off since 1991 suggesting that most fish stocks are now overexploited and overfished.
For over three decades now, USAID has been at the forefront of providing support for marine and biodiversity conversation in the Philippines – from managing coastal and marine habitats in the 1990s to managing fisheries in the past decade.