(MANILA, Philippines – Nov. 27, 2018) Fishing industry stakeholders gathered last week in a collaborative workshop hosted by Environmental Defense Fund’s (EDF) Philippines program aimed at tackling pressing problems like overfishing. The convening is the first in a series of engagements EDF will host, where representatives from across the industry can discuss solutions to shared fisheries problems and spur innovative solutions in the country and region.
Attendees at the event held in Clark, Philippines included representatives from local governments, private sector businesses and academia. EDF will use the convenings to gather key insights and recommendations which they will share with The Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and other national agencies working on fisheries issues in the Philippines.
“We have designed these workshops to help government and non-government entities achieve sustainable fishing here in the Philippines,” said Edwina Garchitorena, Country Director of Environmental Defense Fund Oceans Program, Philippines. “If we can sustainably manage our wild fisheries, they can help us support our population’s needs for food, nutrition and a better way of life.”
The Philippines is an archipelagic country with a 36,000 kilometer coastline and a population of 100 million people, who derive 38 percent of their daily protein needs from fish. Despite this, fisheries are often completely overlooked as a crucial component of the food security agenda.
“Millions of Filipinos depend on marine resources for nutrition and livelihoods, in many cases with few alternatives,” said Garchitorena.
EDF’s Philippines branch office was formally established in October 2018 with the goals of helping the government achieve sustainable fishing by contributing to national policy discussions on Fisheries Management Areas (FMAs), building capacity for science-based fisheries management, and working with local communities to establish and strengthen secure fishing rights for fishers. Additionally, the regional council that governs fisheries issues in the Gulf of Lagonoy invited EDF to join its technical advisory group. With EDF’s help, the group plans to create a model integrating the management of small-scale and commercial fishing with marine habitat protection, which has been a challenge faced by other areas of the country.
Previously, EDF helped more than a dozen fishing communities in the Philippines create sustainable fishing programs for their artisanal fisheries. In 2018, EDF and the Philippines’ Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources announced a partnership to develop new scientific processes, provide training and test new technologies as the country implements sustainable fishing reforms. To achieve these goals, EDF will continue to carry out trainings and develop recommendations for designing sustainable management programs in key fisheries in the Philippines.
“Much more must be done, but EDF is optimistic that the Philippines can further strengthen its sustainable fisheries management capabilities and ensure a healthy supply of seafood for its people for generations to come,” said Garchitorena.
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