Helping fish right
Published by the Visayan Daily Star
Editor-in-Chief & President
Bureau Chief, Dumaguete
MAJA P. DELY
|CARLOS ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) Fish Right Program got a boost in Negros Oriental with cooperatives throwing in their support.
The Dumaguete City Credit Cooperative (DCCCO), the Negros Oriental Electric Cooperative 2 and The Consumer Advocates Inc. (CAI) are supporting more than 500 marginal fishery industry workers and their families to be enrolled as members and have joined the Fish Right campaign through a memorandum of agreement recently signed at the Provincial Agriculture Office in Dumaguete City.
Fish Right is a partnership between the Government of the Philippines and the USAID to improve marine diversity and the fisheries sector in three key ecological areas. The program aims to foster substantial change in fisheries management and climate resilience to achieve a ten percent increase in fish biomass in Calamianes, Southern Negros, and Visayan Seas.
Through improved management of fisheries, mangroves, and other coastal resources, the program will increase resilience and improve livelihoods among households engaged in fisheries within the 39 municipalities of these marine key biodiversity areas.
Ben Malayang, principal investigator of the program for Southern Negros, said the partnership of the cooperatives with the program may improve income and expand the livelihood opportunities among fisher folk.
The CAI will help fishers determine what to catch rather than trawling whatever they can get that may be of low quality and value. The DCCCO will conduct financial literacy programs for fisher folk and develop micro to small livelihood programs that may be suggested to fishers as an alternative source of income. Noreco 2 will shoulder the initial deposit of P700 per member required by DCCCO from the 500 target fisher beneficiaries in the coastal areas of Southern Negros.
The success of Fish Right which can benefit the marginalized fishers and their communities the most, relies on a sense of ownership within, and full participation by the marine key biodiversity area’s coastal communities. The involvement and support of cooperatives increases the chances of success.
Despite the bounty of our seas, most marginalized Filipino fishers still struggle in poverty. Doing things the way we have always done it is no longer enough, and programs like Fish Right provide the opportunity not only to do better this time around, but can also upgrade our climate resilience during a time when climate change threatens the future of vulnerable livelihoods and communities that depend on those economic activities.*