PRESS RELEASE: USAID Oceans and Partners Celebrate Accomplishments in Improving Fisheries Management in the “Tuna Capital” of the Philippines
MANILA, PHILIPPINES, February 3, 2020 – This week, public and private sector leaders in the seafood industry are gathering in Manila to formally recognize the end of the USAID Oceans and Fisheries Partnership’s (USAID Oceans) work in the Philippines and to celebrate collective accomplishments.
The Project Closeout Event will include formal recognition of USAID Oceans’ achievements in the General Santos learning site to develop and test electronic catch documentation and traceability (eCDT) technologies, improve fisheries management, and promote human welfare aspects of fisheries. USAID Oceans will thank public and private sector partners and recognize their contributions to the project’s successes. The event will mark the formal transition of program activities to local partners to carry forward.
Since the start of this project in May 2015, USAID Oceans has had two learning sites: General Santos, the Philippines; and Bitung, Indonesia. The Philippines is the second largest manufacturer of canned and processed tuna in Asia, after Thailand, and the majority of this catch lands at the General Santos City port, often referred to as the “Tuna Capital” of the Philippines. The fisheries sector holds tremendous significance to national and local economies in the Philippines, making sustainable fisheries management crucial to protecting the region’s biodiversity and sustaining the viability of fisheries and marine ecosystems.
Since the project’s launch, USAID Oceans has worked with the Philippines Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to establish two cutting-edge Fisheries Operation Centers to monitor fishery activities—one at the national level and one at the BFAR Region 12 office. This week’s close-out event will include a tour of the national center and a live-streamed ribbon cutting ceremony of the BFAR 12 Fisheries Operation Center to mark its official launch. As the program comes to a close, USAID Oceans looks to BFAR as a leader in advancing sustainable fisheries management efforts and expanding eCDT in the Philippines.
Other key accomplishments that will be recognized at the Project Closeout Event include USAID Oceans’ support to BFAR to implement an eCDT system in General Santos City, which tracked over 20 metric tons of seafood as of October 2019; finalization of the Sustainable Fisheries Management Plan for the Sarangani Bay and Sulawesi Sea, which was endorsed by BFAR and local stakeholders in February 2019; and a reinforced commitment to gender equity through a series of capacity building activities and gender equity interventions implemented in partnership with the National Network for Women in Fisheries in the Philippines. The event will also feature a technology showcase where USAID Oceans and partners will share experiences and lessons learned from implementing traceability technologies in program learning sites.
USAID Oceans’ national and regional partners from across Southeast Asia will be participating in the event, including representatives from BFAR; private sector technology firms; the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center; the US-government; and non-governmental organizations, including local branches of Conservation International and The World Wide Fund for Nature.
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ABOUT USAID OCEANS
USAID Oceans is a partnership between USAID and the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center that works to strengthen regional cooperation to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing; promote sustainable fisheries; and conserve marine biodiversity in the Asia-Pacific region. The backbone of the program is the development and implementation of financially sustainable electronic catch documentation and traceability systems, supported by data-driven fisheries management and initiatives for responsible, equitable seafood supply chains. For more information, visit www.seafdec-oceanspartnership.org.
Lauren Bader, USAID Oceans: Lauren.Bader@oceans-partnership.org