The Dumaguete City Credit Cooperative and the Negros Oriental Electric Cooperative 2 are supporting more than 500 marginal fishery industry workers and their families to be enrolled as members of the cooperatives.
The cooperative sector and consumer advocates have joined the campaign for “Fish Right” for sustainable fishing through a memorandum of agreement signed recently at the Provincial Agriculture Office in Dumaguete City.
Ben Malayang, principal investigator of USAID Fish Right Program for Southern Negros, said the move to partner with the cooperatives may improve income and expand the livelihood opportunities among fisherfolk.
“We will be looking for ways for our fishing to be regulated in terms of seasonality, and when we let them (fishermen) rest, it will not become a burden to them because they will have livelihood alternatives,” he said.
To ensure that the fishes that are caught by fishers follow a clear standard as to what will go to the markets, is cited in the agreement. The Consumer Advocates Inc. signed the MOA, too.
“Our fishers here are very opportunistic, they catch a lot but when they get to the market, they cannot do anything, that’s what we call post-catch losses and wastes. So, if they know what the market is looking for, they will know what to catch," Malayang said.
The CAI therefore helps the fishers determine what to catch rather than trawling whatever they can get that may be of low quality and value.
DCCCO will conduct financial literacy program for fisher folk and develop micro-to-small livelihood programs that may be suggested to fishers as their alternative source of income.
On the part of the fishers, they are required to attend a pre-membership education seminar of DCCCO, after which an initial deposit will be collected for the savings as well as for the share capital, William Ablong, DCCCO board chairperson, said.
Noreco 2 will shoulder the initial deposit of P700 per member of the 500 target fisher-beneficiaries in the coastal areas of southern Negros.
Apart from the initial deposit, Noreco2 will also provide electricity connection for those whose households are without connection yet.
The strategy used in this Fish Right program encourages and supports the local governments in providing scientific and technical basis for improving the management of fisheries.
Part of the improvement for the fisheries is the expansion of the participation of the private sector working with the public sector in supporting the fishery industry of Negros Island.*
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