Enriching Fisheries Management in the PacificCatch of the Week
Acquiring a broader understanding of the greater ecosystem that a fishery belongs to is a vital part in enriching fisheries management in the Pacific. This is according to Dr. Nygiel Armada, Deputy Chief of Party of the Ecosystems Improved for Sustainable Fisheries (ECOFISH) Project, who shared his experience and technical knowledge at the basic training workshop on “Enriching Fisheries Management Practices in the Pacific Through CTI Cross-Country Learning: Basic Training on Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries” from 28 April to 03 May 2014.
The training was held in Bohol, Philippines, and organized through ADB Technical Assistance-7753 (Strengthening Coastal and Marine Resources Management in the Coral Triangle of the Pacific – Phase 2), together with partners ANZDEC, through the Kabang Kalikasan ng Pilipinas Foundation, Inc. (KKPFI), also known as World Wide Fund for Nature-Philippines.
Thirty-five representatives from government and non-government organizations from Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, and Vanuatu attended the workshop.
The province of Bohol, in Central Philippines, was selected as the learning site for the technical assistance because it is a prime example of a clear demonstration of the ecosystem approach to fisheries management (EAFM). The methodology of the training focused on providing participants with a solid background on EAFM through the studies and field experiences of recognized experts and key practitioners in the Coral Triangle countries, enriched by cross-learning through site visits to Boholanon communities.
A case in point is the Danajon Bank double barrier reef, located off northern Bohol Island, the only double barrier reef in the Philippines and one of only six documented double barrier reefs in the world. It is also one of only three such sites in the Indo-Pacific. The 130-km long coral reef system is a habitat-rich fisheries ecosystems located in the Central Philippines, shared and co-managed by four provinces, sixteen municipalities and three cities, thus providing a wealth of information and experience on successfully utilizing an inter-local government unit, ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management.
In determining whether the key elements of EAFM were already integrated in their local fisheries management plans, the participants found that the approach required an understanding of the components of the local fisheries ecosystem, the sustainable harvest of target species and its impact on other trophic levels, and broad-based socio-economic benefits for local communities.
Other resource speakers sharing their experiences and technical input to the participants include Ms. Sandra Arcamo and Ms. Jessica Muñoz, Chief of the Fisheries Resources Management Division and Director of the Fisheries Resources Management Project respectively, under the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Mr. Imam Musthofa Zainudin, Fisheries Program Leader of WWF-Malaysia, Mr. Jose Angelito Palma, Vice President for Conservation Programmes of WWF-Philippines, and Marlito Guidote, Regulatory and Enforcement Specialist of the ECOFISH Project.
The presentations pointed out that while the basic elements for EAFM already existed in their respective countries, there is a lack in the capacity and control mechanisms in enforcing the laws and policies on EAFM. Multi-sectoral coordination was also weak and limited specifically in terms of accessing and sharing information.
The group cum planning session looked at the EAFM key elements as these apply to the individual countries. The presentations showed that there are common EAFM elements present in the five Pacific countries, such as on the existence of legal frameworks, use of traditional knowledge and customary laws and practices, and institutional mechanisms and structures both formal and traditional, even at the village/community levels with involvement of NGOs. The latter is particularly evident in Solomon Islands.
The participants posed challenging questions to the resource speakers on applying the approach in their respective countries in light of other marine stakeholders, such as deep seabed mining and energy generation. They were also able to interact with the various Danajon Bank stakeholders that contribute to the EAFM initiatives of the area such as the members of the Philippine National Police Maritime group, the Philippine Coast Guard, the provincial detachment units, community marine protected area enforcers, municipal officials and Boholanon fisherfolk. At the end of the workshop, the participants commented that the training was “worthwhile” and was “well-presented”, proving “very useful and beneficial… for the betterment of my country”.
(Photo and story courtesy of CTKN and WWF-Philippines)