FAO with the support of UK-DFID to develop first-of-its-kind hybrid boat for Typhoon Haiyan-affected fisherfolk

FAO with the support of UK-DFID to develop first-of-its-kind hybrid boat for Typhoon Haiyan-affected fisherfolk

16/06/2014

Small-scale fishers whose livelihoods were devastated by Typhoon Haiyan will soon have access to a new hybrid boat developed jointly by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Government’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), FAO has announced.

The boat will be the first to use both wood and fiberglass, while maintaining traditional Philippine boat designs. Traditionally, local boat builders use a specific type of protected hardwood tree to build the keel, or ‘kasko’. Following BFAR’s recommendations, FAO, through the support of the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), has developed a new prototype which replicates the design of locally known boats - bangkas - but uses fiberglass instead of the hardwood-kasko. In helping to preserve the hardwood trees and deterring further illegal forestry practices. FAO has further included built-in buoyancy tanks and other features that ensure floatability and durability.

“It is imperative that we restore fishing production capacity in a sustainable manner. The disruption to the fisheries sector caused by Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) over 6 months ago not only threatens fishers’ livelihoods, per capita fish consumption and nutrition levels of coastal communities but the livelihoods of thousands of other fish workers and women in fisheries along the fish distribution chain,” said José Luis Fernandez, FAO Representative in the Philippines.

Working with the government of the Philippines, and supported by DFID, FAO is working to ensure fishers’ livelihoods are built back better and affected regions placed on a path of resilience and sustainable development. “The adoption and fabrication of this inexpensive hybrid fiberglass-wooden boat model is taking advantage of the opportunity to introduce more responsible practices,” José Luis Fernandez added.

In order to foster sustainability, boat builders, NGO workers, local government technical staff and BFAR personnel will be trained in building and repairing the new hybrid models. By training trainers, knowledge on construction and maintenance is expected to be passed on to 3 000 boat builders and carpenters.

Additionally, FAO with the support of DFID and European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) will provide 2 900 seaweed farmers with materials and inputs to restore seaweed farms. A further 3 000 fish farmers engaged in cage farming of finfish and bivalves will be supplied with smallfish cage assets and stocking materials, while 3 500 women will be supported through start-up capital for fish vending, processing, and value-adding. In addition to aquaculture programs, FAO will dedicate particular effort to post-harvest activities in which mainly women are employed.

The program is part of a USD 7 million intervention, which aims to support a total of 14 400 fishers in close collaboration with BFAR, covering the regions of Eastern Visayas, Western Visayas and Northern Palawan. FAO aims at setting the bedrock for the development of more resilient livelihoods and improvements in local fisherfolk’s quality of life.

When Typhoon Haiyan struck the central Philippines some 30 000 fisher families, that is approximately 150 000 people, were in urgent need of livelihood assistance. FAO’s intervention in the fisheries sector supported by UK-DFID and the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO), will reach some 85 000 men, women and children.