BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Rep. Jose Francisco Benitez reiterated his full support for the fisheries sector and its stakeholders during the planning workshop on March 18 of the Negros 3rd District Coastal Resources Management and Development Council (N3DCRMDC) held in Talisay City, Negros Occidental, under the auspices of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Fish Right Program.
Benitez, incumbent congressman of the third district of Negros Occidental, said the fisheries sector needs critical attention, as he noted that resources are declining, from several causes, and stressed the need to be working together, with urgency.
With the guidance of the USAID Fish Right Program, Benitez said the N3DCRMDC plans to establish an Eco-System Approach to Fisheries Management Program.
It has brought together representatives of the four coastal areas in the third district of the province, including the cities of Victorias, Silay and Talisay, as well as EB Magalona.
The N3DCRMDC targets to improve management of coastal resources through closer cooperation, coordination and convergence.
The one-day planning activity included presentations on coastal habitats by the Provincial Environment Management Office ; fisheries resources profile by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources ;and the Coastal Monitoring and Vulnerability Assessment System developed by a team from the Carlos Hilado Memorial State College.
The workshop also tackled fisheries socio-economic status and existing programs; stakeholder analysis; and an assessment on illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing.
The USAID Fish Right Team that led the planning workshop included Andrea Leonor Barcelona, coordinator for Visayan Area; James Kho and Wilmon Penalosa, and coordinating the activity was N3CRMDC executive director Eduardo Fuentebella.
The alliance of local government units for the restoration and conservation of fisheries and aquatic resources in the Third District was formalized in December 2019, with the signing of a memorandum of agreement.
The agreement has the full support of Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson, Rep. Benitez , concerned national agencies, provincial offices, the academe and the non-government organizations.
The Council is chaired by Victorias City Mayor Francis Frederick Palanca who is also president of the Negros Association of Chief Executives, Inc.*