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USAID Trains Civil Society Organizations to Promote Sustainable Fisheries Management in the Philippines

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has recently conducted a training workshop for 34 participants from civil society organizations (CSOs) and their local partners to support strategic management action planning and decision-making towards a more improved, responsible, and sustainable fisheries management in the Philippines.

The training workshop, which was held from August 21 to 25, 2023, was facilitated by the Gerry Roxas Foundation (GRF), USAID’s implementing partner for the Strengthening Fisheries Governance Project.

The project aims to strengthen resource governance and management, combat illegal fishing, promote seafood sourcing, and improve food security and inclusive development in the country.

According to USAID Philippines Mission Director Lawrence Hardy II, the training workshop was part of USAID’s commitment to help the Philippines achieve its goals under the National Fisheries Industry Development Plan 2023-2030.

“USAID is proud to partner with the Philippine government and civil society in advancing sustainable fisheries management that benefits both the environment and the people,” he said.

The training workshop covered topics such as fisheries governance and policy analysis, stakeholder engagement and communication, strategic planning and action planning, monitoring and evaluation, and resource mobilization.

The participants also learned from the best practices and experiences of other CSOs and local government units that have successfully implemented fisheries management initiatives in their respective areas.

The participants expressed their appreciation for the training workshop, saying that it enhanced their knowledge and skills on fisheries management and enabled them to network with other CSOs and local partners.

They also expressed their commitment to apply what they learned in their own organizations and communities.

One of the participants, Maria Lourdes Santos, the executive director of Save Philippine Seas, said that the training workshop was very timely and relevant for her organization.

“We are currently working on a project to protect and restore coral reefs in Cebu, which are vital for the livelihoods of fisherfolk and the health of marine ecosystems. The training workshop helped us to refine our strategies and action plans, as well as to identify potential partners and funders for our project,” she said.

Another participant, Rodelio Subade, a professor at the University of the Philippines Visayas and a board member of the Foundation for the Philippine Environment, said that the training workshop was very useful for his organization.

“We are supporting several community-based coastal resource management projects in different parts of the country. The training workshop gave us insights on how to improve our governance and policy advocacy, as well as how to measure our impact and outcomes,” he said.

The training workshop was one of the activities under USAID’s Strengthening Fisheries Governance Project, which is a five-year project that started in 2021.

The project supports the Philippine government’s efforts to implement the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM), which is a holistic and participatory approach that considers the interrelationships among humans, fish, and their environment.

Through the project, USAID works with various stakeholders, including national and local government agencies, CSOs, private sector, academia, media, fisherfolk groups, and coastal communities, to promote sustainable fisheries management in selected priority areas in the country.

The project also aims to increase public awareness and demand for sustainable seafood products among consumers and businesses.

USAID is one of the leading donors for fisheries management in the Philippines. Since 2012, USAID has invested more than $40 million in various projects that support sustainable fisheries management in the country.

These projects have contributed to improved fish stocks, increased incomes for fisherfolk, enhanced biodiversity conservation, reduced illegal fishing activities, and strengthened resilience to climate change impacts.