Key Accomplishments Recognized at the Conclusion of the USAID Oceans and Fisheries Partnership

Since May 2015, the Oceans and Fisheries Partnership (USAID Oceans) has worked with regional organizations, national governments, and  stakeholder groups from across Southeast Asia to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing and seafood fraud, promote sustainable fisheries management, and conserve marine biodiversity.  At the conclusion of the 5-year project, key accomplishments include:

  • Successfully supported the development, testing, and implementation of 7 innovative electronic catch documentation and traceability (eCDT) technologies, allowing tracking of more than 4 million pounds of legal and sustainable seafood products within the international seafood supply chain, representing a value of approximately US$20 million.
  • Worked to develop and successfully implement sustainable fisheries management plans, including the first known sub-regional ecosystems approach to fisheries management plan formally adopted by neighboring countries.  These plans protect marine habitats totaling an area over 1.5 times the size of the United States (> 100 million hectares), helping Southeast Asian countries to more sustainably manage transboundary fish stocks, protect against illegal fishing practices, and support marine biodiversity conservation.
  • Facilitated the development of 5 legal instruments that promote gender equity and women’s empowerment in fisheries management. These new legal agreements make it easier for women to register as fishers, incorporate gender considerations in existing fisheries policies, and build capacities of partner organizations to implement organizational gender policies.
  • Engaged private and public partners to leverage more than US$4 million in funding to support the work of USAID Oceans, including through U.S.-based seafood companies such as Anova Food, LLC and Bumble Bee Seafood.
  • Trained more than 1,800 women and men from governmental and non-governmental stakeholder groups throughout Southeast Asia to take action in support of combating illegal fishing, promoting fisheries sustainability, and enhancing marine conservation.

To attain these regional accomplishments, USAID Oceans worked collaboratively with regional organizations–particularly the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) and the Coral Triangle Initiative for Coral Reefs, Fisheries, and Food Security (CTI-CFF)–as well with as national fisheries agencies and non-governmental stakeholders, most notably in Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam.  These partnerships facilitated the regional expansion of eCDT technologies and systems paired with an ecosystem approach to fisheries management.

USAID’s work to strengthen and promote sustainable and traceable seafood supply chains enhances long-term global food security and protects the livelihoods of those that depend on the fisheries industry. Through this project, USAID has established a replicable model for curbing illegal fishing practices, advancing sustainable and equitable fisheries, and promoting safe, legal, and sustainable seafood trade.

In light of USAID Oceans’ completion, Cristina Velez Srinivasan, Ecosystems Management and Team Lead of USAID’s Regional Environmental Office, stated, “The USAID Oceans project has played an important role in improving natural resource management in the Asia-Pacific region. From developing and managing technologies and systems that capture essential fisheries traceability data to advocating for gender-equitable policies and practices in the seafood industry, this work moves us closer to our vision for a free, open, and secure Indo-Pacific region.”

This story was adapted from the 16 April 2020 USAID Press Release and the USAID Oceans Impact Factsheet.