A P1.3 billion sustainable fisheries project called “Fish Right” was launched by the US government in partnership with the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.
The five-year U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) project will focus on addressing biodiversity threats, improving marine ecosystem governance, and increasing number and weight of fish in the Calamianes Island Group, Visayan Seas, and South Negros.
The partnership is expected to benefit two million people who depend on these resources for food and income.
“We will continue to work together to advance human and ecological well-being in the Philippines and to support initiatives that enhance sustainable resource use and conserve biodiversity. The U.S. government is committed to work alongside you in this crucial endeavor,” said U.S. Embassy in the Philippines Deputy Chief of Mission John C. Law during the launching.
Agriculture Undersecretary and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Director Eduardo B. Gongona reiterated the Philippine government’s commitment to marine protection and sustainable fisheries.
“BFAR is pleased to continue its partnership with USAID through the Fish Right Program. We are at the forefront of the country’s fight against illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, which to this day continues to imperil marine and aquatic resources and the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of fisherfolk,” Gongona said.
Approximately 60 percent of the Filipino population lives in coastal zones and depends on coastal resources for their livelihoods.
These resources are threatened by illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources estimates that the Philippines loses nearly P68.5 billion a year to these harmful fishing practices.
Since the 1990s, USAID has supported the country’s marine and biodiversity conservation efforts. This partnership has resulted in a 24 percent increase in fish biomass -- or the number and size of fish -- in target regions.