Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Improving fisher livelihoods in Zamboanga Del Norte

Zamboanga Del Norte, the Philippines, 16 Feb 2011 -- Fishers in Zamboanga Del Norte will benefit following the signing of agreements formalizing collaboration between partners in the Spanish-funded Regional Fisheries Livelihoods Programme for South and Southeast Asia (RFLP) implemented by FAO.

The agreements define major initiatives to be undertaken by RFLP and the roles and responsibilities of local government units, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and the provincial government of Zamboanga Del Norte necessary to ensure the success of this joint undertaking.

An agreement between the FAO, BFAR, provincial government and the city government of Dapitan was signed 13 February 2011. Agreements with the Municipalities of Sibutad and Rizal were signed 14 February and with Sindangan, Leon Postigo, Liloy, Salug and Manukan municipalities 15 February. An agreement will also be signed with the city government of Dipolog in the near future.

Mr Kazuyuki Tsurumi, FAO Representative for the Philippines said, “These agreements will go a long way towards facilitating the implementation of the Regional Fisheries Livelihoods Programme in Zamboanga Del Norte. By making clear the roles and responsibilities of all parties we can help ensure assistance and support are delivered in a timely and effective manner.”

The agreements see RFLP commit to provide technical assistance and training to help develop coastal resources and fisheries management plans and to improve fisheries law enforcement. Patrol boats and surveillance equipment will be provided while RFLP will also help improve fishing boat licensing and registration systems. In addition, RFLP will support income diversification activities and the formulation and implementation of Sardine and Reef Fisheries improvement plans.

BFAR responsibilities detailed in the agreements include the provision of technical assistance and logistical support for co-management measures as well as the establishment of demonstration farms and livelihoods training. BFAR will also help facilitate inter local government unit bay alliances to ensure greater cooperation.

Amongst their commitments, the city governments and municipalities agree to mobilize staff, coastal community leaders and fisheries sector representatives. They also agree to fund the operation and maintenance of patrol boats.

Meanwhile, the Provincial Government of Zamboanga Del Norte will organize and strengthen livelihood/enterprise groups while ensuring adequate policy support for fisheries co-management and livelihood development activities.

Jose Parajua, Regional Programme Manager of the RFLP said, “The Regional Fisheries Livelihoods Programme can deliver real benefits to the people of Zamboanga Del Norte and it is therefore excellent to see such a high level of commitment to its success from the partners involved.”

RFLP activities in the Philippines are being undertaken in two coastal cities (Dipolog and Dapitan) and 10 municipalities of Zamboanga del Norte Province, on the north western coastline of Mindanao Island.

RFLP seeks to improve the livelihoods of fishers and their families while fostering more sustainable fisheries resources management practices in Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste and Viet Nam. The four-year (2009 – 2013), USD 19.55 million RFLP is funded by the Kingdom of Spain and implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in collaboration with national authorities in participating countries.

Contact

Philippines: Benjamin Francisco,
RFLP National Project Coordinator
+63 65 213 0232
benjamin.francisco@fao.org

Bangkok: Steve Needham,
RFLP Information Officer 
+66 85 480 3988
steve.needham@fao.org