HARIBON and the local fisherfolks in Surigao del Sur formed a partnership as a response to the concerns in local depletion of fish species by producing everybody’s breakfast favorite—danggit.
Since 2012, Haribon Foundation in collaboration with Newcastle University in UK has been implementing the Darwin Initiative Project 19-020 titled Responding to Fish Extirpations in Global Epicenter of Marine Biodiversity funded by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA), UK. Its major aim is to identify and model threatened, locally extinct, and extremely depleted marine fish species using multiple data sources in five key marine biodiversity areas including Lanuza Bay in Surigao del Sur where Kaampaka, a local fishers organization in Barangay Burgos, Cortes was established.
The project showed that there is a need to shift the fisheries from high trophic level species such as the groupers (lapu-lapu) and snappers (maya-maya), which are slow growing and late maturing species and thus more vulnerable to depletion, to low trophic level species such as the rabbitfish or locally known as danggit that are still abundant and among the resilient reef fishes in Lanuza Bay.
For this reason, Haribon assisted Kadagatan Ampingan Pagmata Katawhan or Kaampaka to install a social enterprise that focuses on premium danggit with a conservation-livelihood agreement that reconcile marine conservation, empower its members and provide them with sustainable livelihood. Haribon launched a fish processing project called Kaampaka Premium Fish Products wherein Haribon provides capacity building activities such as basic social enterprise operations in marketing, basic accounting, auditing including, leadership training and empowering the fisher organization by cross-visits to successful similar operations to its members in exchange for them to continue their volunteer efforts in marine protected area (MPA) management and comply with fishery management regulations.
Kaampaka was also granted materials for the construction and repair of fish traps and fish cages by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR)-CARAGA Region. It is now and will be the primary source of raw materials for the dried danggit social enterprise. BFAR was also tapped to help the members in providing the skills in fish drying while the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) trained them in packaging, labeling and marketing their products. The DTI also helped them ensuring product quality and product safety. Kaampaka has also just been granted by Foundation for Sustainable Society (FSSI) to support their dried danggit social enterprise for the purchase of equipment essential for fish drying including initial capital to buy raw materials and initial allowances for Kaampaka member-staff of the enterprise.
The Kaampaka Premium Fish Products, also benefits the women, long been unrecognized as a significant contributor to productive work in the fishing industry, earn a daily income of P250.00 each as a member which helps augment her family’s income. It‘s fully operational for over seven months already and is gaining profit. In fact, marketing of dried fish products reached until Butuan, Surigao del Sur, a nearby municipality, through the help of the DTI. The target of this project is for the Kaampaka’s dried danggit products to become Surigao del Sur’s major product for pasalubong or a homecoming gift of tourists with the marketing and promotions supported by the provincial and municipal LGUs.
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