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Investing in fisheries

          The World Bank will extend a $220 million loan to the Philippines next year to enhance the country’s marine resource management by controlling the harvest in some of its fishing grounds while also supporting livelihoods.

          The Fisheries and Coastal Resiliency Project, aimed at “improving the management of coastal fishery resources, enhancing the value of fisheries production, and increasing fisheries-derived incomes within coastal communities in selected fishery management areas”, is expected to be approved by the Washington-based lender on July 30, 2021.

          The Department of Finance was borrowing from the WB, on behalf of the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, that would implement the project over a seven-year period.

          “Improved management of the fishery resources provides the basis for a sustainable fisheries industry, in the absence of which, investment in productive capacity typically threatens, rather than enhances the long-term value of fisheries output. Enhancement of the value generated from fisheries helps to both justify the expenses of tighter harvesting controls as well as mitigate their short term impact through the provision of alternative livelihoods and sustainable enterprises,” the World Bank said.

          BFAR’s Fisheries and Coastal Resiliency Project will be implemented in selected fishery management areas likely populated with “indigenous peoples, vulnerable and marginalized coastal communities, who are commonly among the poorest population group”. These groups rely on subsistence fishing and lack financial support and technical know-how.

          Science-based policies based on reference points and harvest control rules will be jointly implemented in the fishery management areas by the BFAR and local government units.

          A country that is already saddled with loans should be more circumspect in taking on more debt but in this case, investing in marine resource management so the poorest of the poor can sustainably benefit from our country’s vast fishery resources would be a better investment than many of the other loans our government officials have taken out in our behalf.

          Hopefully, the implementation is done properly so the lives of the intended beneficiaries of the project actually improve.*

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