Policy paper on Maritime and Fisheries Resources

1

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.


Initial project   

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.

Conclusion

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 )

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1 Comment

  1. Enrico Canaya on

    Can I request a pdf copy of the whole document of the policy paper on maritime and fisheries resources published in part 5 last January 2