IMPACT STORY #1: Futuristic Aviation and Maritime Enterprise (FAME) Improving Small-scale Fishers Capacity to Meet Traceability Requirements

Fishermen tapping NFC card on the FAME transponder to record and transmit catch data to FAME gateway to the cloud (Photo credit: USAID Oceans)

Through a partnership with USAID, a local Philippine technology start-up was able to develop its business and become a viable solution to catch reporting and communications challenges facing small-scale Philippine fishers.


Mr. Fetizanan Jr., founder and CEO of FAME,  said “USAID Oceans helped us forge new partnerships.” The most important outcome was the improvement of his company’s product through the partnerships, not only with USAID Oceans, but other companies and institutions as well.

Led by Tetra Tech ARD and supported by Resonance, the USAID Oceans and Fisheries Partnership (USAID Oceans), strengthened regional cooperation for the sustainable and legal management and trade of fisheries resources in the Asia-Pacific region.  USAID Oceans supported the development of electronic catch, documentation, and traceability (eCDT) systems to give governments and seafood buyers the transparency needed to enforce fishery regulations and incentivize more sustainable practices.

In 2016, in an effort to develop and deliver eCDT systems appropriate for small-scale fisheries, USAID Oceans identified a possible partner in Philippines technology start-up, the Futuristic Aviation and Maritime Enterprise (FAME), that was testing an early prototype of an affordable vessel tracking solution aimed at small-scale fishers in the Philippines.

USAID Oceans then partnered with FAME to deploy the tracking solution on 30 small-scale fishing vessels. The project supported the company over the next three years to enhance its technology, add additional traceability solutions, widen its network and expand its market, both domestically and internationally.

The Challenge: Increasing demand for traceability to combat IUU fishing a challenge for small-scale fishers with limited capacity to adopt technology to document the legality of their catch.

Internationally, concern is growing over the continued depletion of fisheries resources which has prompted a push for an increase in accountability and responsibility to protect and conserve these resources. In Southeast Asia, it is extremely important to ensure this sector is sustainably managed, as almost 80% of the 40 million people engaged in capture fisheries are from the Asian region.

But national governments lack the information, technology, and capacity required to monitor and trace fisheries activity, especially from small-scale fisheries. The region’s complex, transboundary fisheries supply chains require both government and private sector participation to leverage the expertise, resources, and interests of various stakeholders to achieve mutually beneficial objectives, increase resource mobilization, scale-up best practices, and establish trust, support, and buy-in amongst stakeholders.

The Solution: Partnership with FAME, a Philippines company, to test and expand vessel tracking and monitoring solutions appropriate for small-scale fishing vessels.

During product development and discussions with USAID Oceans, FAME discovered that there was a great need for a cheap and efficient way of capturing and transmitting information. Fisheries needed an effective technology that can monitor fishing vessels in relation to catch documentation and the traceability of fish catch, especially for small scale fisheries.

Hence, in 2017, USAID Oceans brokered a partnership with FAME to test and expand vessel tracking and monitoring solutions on small-scale fishing vessels in the Philippines. USAID Oceans and FAME installed transponders on 24 municipal fishing vessels and 6 small-scale commercial vessels from 5 coastal municipalities of Sarangani Province and General Santos City.

Fishing boat tracking using FAME Technology in Sablayan, Mindoro Occidental (Photo credit: FAME)

The transponders enable fishers to trace and document their catch using a mobile application. The transponders enabled CDT data capture and transmission as well as enhanced software functionality (including vessel monitoring, and fish catch report), as well as communications at sea to improve safety and quality of life for the crew on fishing vessels.

Following the initial pilot, Resonance worked with FAME to develop new strategic partnerships to expand their eCDT tools to other fisheries in the Philippines and enter new markets in Vietnam and Thailand.

The Outcome/Impact: Partnership enabled a Philippines start-up to grow as a business and expand the availability of an innovative and low solution for small-scale fisheries eCDT in the region.

We have learned a lot from the experience and as a result, we are now talking to processors to be able to form a new business model.  FAME is grateful to USAID Oceans for bringing the company to various stakeholders in different countries through participation in various events where we were able to showcase our products,” – Mr. Arcelio Fetizanan Jr., Founder of FAME

USAID Oceans was able to demonstrate the efficacy of an integrated technology solution that meets CDT and sustainable fisheries management requirements of the industry, government, and key export markets.  The FAME partnership brought new traceability technologies to small-scale fisheries that addressed the challenges with varied user capacity and cost.

These private-sector partnerships also increased the number of eCDT technology pilots, increased interest, and increased the number of actors from the technology field in fisheries and expanded the market of available eCDT solutions for public and private sectors in Southeast Asia. The use of this technology by fishers and vessel operators improves compliance with end-market requirements and delivers value to the fishing community.

FAME increased the number and tested new features to its device by the first movers (30 fishing boats) under the USAID Oceans.   The functionality they offer also increased, including: the use of an NFC card to record catches, temperature, fuel gauges, SOS button and messaging capacity, as well as a web app for fish catch data analytics.

Additional benefits for FAME based on its engagement with USAID Oceans included:

  • New partnerships with JAM Seafoods, Inc.; the Department of Science and Technology (DOST); Palawan’s Honda Bay Boats Association and Sabang Boats Association; Trinity Roots in Thailand; and Inspiring Super Ideas Partnership in Taiwan.
  • Collaboration with WWF Philippines to scale up municipal eCDT in other regions, beyond the General Santos learning site, where an additional 60 FAME transponders were installed in municipal fishing boats in Mindoro Occidental and Lagonoy Gulf in Bicol.
  • Additional funding through grants received from DOST amounting to over $100,000, with additional funding possible from the Philippine Coast Guard and several LGUs.

Learn More:

Safer at Sea: the Unexpected Benefit of Traceability for Small-Scale Fishers

Traceability for small-scale fishermen in the Philippines saves lives (video)

Type: Feature Article, Success Story | Author: Resonance Global | Date: 28 May, 2020 | Subject: Catch Documentation and Traceability, Partnerships and Engagement | Country: Philippines, Regional