5th of 5 parts
THIS would show that, in this modern day and age, it is not enough to teach a person “how to fish” in order to survive; it is necessary to impart the commitment to implementation of sustainable management and conservation of marine resources in order to feed the population for the future. Replacement fishing boats would be the easy part if the disaster is not about crashed or severely depleted fisheries. Indeed, a current fisheries concern worldwide is “too many fishing boats chasing too few fish.”
The support infrastructure for fisheries, e.g., landing sites, refrigeration facilities and local fisheries markets; and agriculture, such as rice and vegetable and coconut crops can be restored in time, but livelihoods of millions depend on it being addressed in a sustainable and well planned manner, while assuming responsibility for the immediate livelihoods of those affected.
16. The solution that would serve the livelihood concerns of coastal communities in Region III is to rebuild fish stocks and institute ICZM. This recourse is necessary whether, sooner or later, the political situation in Panatag/Scarborough Shoal finds resolution. There cannot be any easy and fast solution but immediate steps can be taken toward rebuilding and conservation of the marine environment and resources. Interestingly, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) implicitly validates the foregoing observation concerning depletion of coastal fisheries resources in Zambales/Pangasinan provinces.
With the assistance of the Philippine Navy (PN) and commercial fishers, the DA/BFAR is installing two arrays of fish aggregating devices (which BFAR Region III also calls artificial reefs) in the coasts of three (3) towns in Pangasinan province – one set far offshore for commercial fishers, and another set closer to shore for artisanal fishers. (Philippine Daily Inquirer dated May 25. 2013, “China cordon drives fishers inland” on p. A12 and Philippine Daily Inquirer dated May 25, 2012, “Gov’t to go after PH fishermen but not China’s” on p. A17). This may have been intended as a “quick fix” solution but definitely never constructive, and even destructive in the longer term.
17. What is laid out here are mere broad brushstrokes. As indicated earlier, detailed aspects in an ICZM project depend on accompanying circumstances in each target territory (see para. 8). Any project of a breadth and magnitude as herein outlined, compelled in a unique archipelago setting and location that is the Philippines, must necessarily involve a building-block capacity-building approach that must be prioritized and distributed over an immediate and near term, and the medium and long term.
An excellent model for the Philippines in developing a suitable project program would be that of New Zealand, also an archipelagic nation. Moreover, the Government of New Zealand had supported the ICRMP since 1997 through the New Zealand Agency for International Aid (NZAid). A first step would be to undertake a commissioned study with the collaboration of international experts and institutions to put together the vision and design and organizational structure, and implementation steps with time frames.
The direct involvement and principal project ownership role of the NEDA would ensure overall consistency and coherence with national development thrusts.
18. A final point in establishing the case for a coherent and sustained/sustainable fisheries and ocean governance program in an archipelago-wide scale is that a well- developed and properly organized and implemented program can contribute significantly toward socio-economic resilience for the country as a whole, and contribute substantially toward food security, a prominent governance pillar under the 1987 Philippines Constitution.
Moreover, as an inherently shared resource in the setting of the seas of Southeast Asia as enclosed/semi-enclosed seas, promoting cooperation and joint management among regional States concerned as exhorted under UNCLOS Part IX, would expectedly conduce toward regional peace and harmony. A necessary infrastructure component of the project that can also begin at Region III and designed ultimately to project nationwide and the maritime Southeast Asia region, would be a durable high-technology “mission control” -type central infrastructure for monitoring, control and surveillance system (MCS). This would be closely linked to an oceanographic institute and also fisheries training centers as the monitoring and research base for the project now and in the future with access to the public domain especially to government agencies and educational institutions at all levels. This would maximize/optimize its practical utility and educational/awareness value.
The resulting support cluster would then serve as the central policy/program planning institute and educational/training facility for ocean studies and fisheries schools in the country; and conceptually be a central tool for the region in its shared efforts to address ocean governance concerns. This technology infrastructure and science support cluster would be the guarantee to project sustainability. (8 September 2014 )