Tuesday, May 2, 2017

EcoFISH bows out, fishermen 
groups commit to push EAFM

TAGBILARAN CITY, April 27, (PIA)--A fishery resource management program implemented among the municipalities sharing the Danajon Double Barrier Reef (DBR) in Bohol closes its project but not after making milestones in community empowerment for fisheries management towards poverty alleviation. 

Ecosystems Improved for Sustainable Fisheries (EcoFISH), with Department of Agriculture Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) and the representatives of the United States Agency for international Development (USAID) received statement of commitments from people's organizations in their assisted sites. 

The statements of commitment from eight people's organizations of fishermen declare that a sustainable protection and conservation of their marine resources is important in maintaining the well being of their communities. 

Mocaboc Island Fishers Association, Entrepreneurs Association for Sustainable Economic Development (EASED) of Alumar Island in Getafe (seaweeds production and marketing enterprise), EASED in Asinan, Buenavista (seaweeds pickle production and marketing enterprise), EASED in Jandayan Getafe (seaweeds nursery, production and marketing enterprise), Bansan Islands Seaweed Farmers and Fisherman's Association, Bagacay Seaweeds Farmers Association of Sag, Talibon, Bagacay Seaweeds Farmers Association of Bagacay Talibon, Bilang-bilangan Daku Women's Association (BIDAWA) of Bilangbilangan island, Bien Unido, Union Farmers and Fisherfolks Organization all said they would implement the EcoFISH concept of ecosystems approaches to fisheries management (EAFM). 

Fully understanding the need to decrease the tension in fisheries to allow the degraded resource to recover, the groups said any income derived from their economic enterprises, they would not use to buy more fishing gear that would contribute to the overfishing issue in their area. 

EcoFISH is a government project implemented by the DA-BFAR with assistance from the USAid addressed the complex problem of fast dying marine ecosystems, diminishing fish catch and the pervading poverty that may have caused this vicious cycle of problems. 

Implemented in the coastal towns sharing the Danajon DBR from Tubigon to Carlos P. Garcia in Bohol, project implementers have completed the zonification of the area to avoid more inter-local government unit conflicts in resource utilization, did multiple research activities on economic profiles, fisheries profiles which form the base of the enhanced ecosystems approaches to fisheries management (EAFM) as well as innovations in law enforcement, said Anecita Gulayan, project executive officer. 

At the beginning of the project, EcoFISH intended to attain a 10% increase in fisheries biomass in the Danajon, an increase in employment caused by sustainable management of its fisheries, establish at least 8 public-private partnerships supportive of EcoFISH objectives and a large portion of Danajon marine environment placed under improved management. 

We may have not done as much as those people want to see, after all, the earthquake that hit Bohol in 2013 also affected so much of Bohol's underwater ecosystems, but, Gulayan reported a slight increase in fisheries biomass.

Danajon, is among the very few double barrier reefs in the world, and is stretching as a natural protection barrier for coastal towns of Tubigon, Clarin, Inabanga, Buenavista, Getafe, Talibon, Trinidad, Bien Unido, Ubay and Carlos P. Garcia. 

Covering over 271 square kilometers, the Danajon, according to experts can have a yield of between $30K to $110 per square kilometer if properly managed. 

This could already feed as well as adequately supply for the protein needs of the community as well as make sustainable fisheries a viable option for fishermen in the region, BFAR 7 Regional Director Dr. Allan Poquita said. 

Considered a very valuable marine resource and the source of food of communities in 17 municipalities and cities in four provinces, experts including Danajon scientist Dr. Allan White have said that an effective collaboration and cooperation among stakeholders is needed to properly rehabilitate and manage the Danajon bank. 

We may have not done as much as those people want to see, but after five years, we have significantly reduced boundary conflicts in the coastal towns sharing Danajon, Gulayan added. 

The project has also set up a marine protected area network that collaborates with government that are supporting EAFM, Gulayan who has been a sector regular worker said. 

Even without livelihood component, much of the work that EcoFISH leaves behind is one quantifiable only by the way of life coastal communities along Danajon are having and having a future to look forward to. This would be worth much more than the five years of empowering communities gives to people who now see their resource as finite and must be taken cared of. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)
BFAR 7 Regional Director Allan Poquita shows off the statement of commitments from 8 fishermen and women's organizations off Danajon who committed to support the ecosystems approaches for fisheries management (EAFM) and vowed to decrease the fisheries tension by lessening fishing activities. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

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