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9 October 2015


WASHINGTON, D.C. — “Fishing is not only an industry in the Philippines. Fishing for Filipinos is a way of life.”


These sentences prefaced the presentation of Ms. Rebecca R. Guieb, USAID Development Specialist, at a Forum held on 6 October 2015 at the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.


Together with Mr. Nygiel Armada, Tetra Tech Chief of Party of ECOFISH, Ms. Guieb spoke of a successful Philippine journey to sustainable fisheries before USAID officials, diplomats, academics and experts, and NGO representatives.


The Ecosystems Improved for Sustainable Fisheries Project (ECOFISH) is a USAID initiative to improve the management of important coastal and marine resources and associated ecosystems in eight marine key biodiversity areas. It is aimed at continuing to demonstrate reversal of fish decline and increasing the number of people with new or better employment from sustainable fisheries by 10% and creating strategic public-private partnerships.

“It is our banner marine program in the Philippines and important for inclusive growth,” said Dr. Gloria Steele, USAID Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator, in her remarks.

ECOFISH works with the national government and local governments to understand the status of their fisheries, prioritize issues and recommendations to establish protection measures and create social enterprises for local economic development.  ECOFISH works with community entrepreneurs, including women, for potential tourism and marketing technology support.

USAID also partnered with the Philippine Government and Smart Telecommunications to use the SMS broadcast facility for reporting illegal activities and enhancing maritime law enforcement in a marine key biodiversity area in Sulu Archipelago.

"The Philippines appreciates the assistance of USAID through ECOFISH towards Sustainable Fisheries. The  utilization, management, development, conservation and protection of fishery resources is a central concern in order to sustainably provide for adequate livelihoods and the food needs of our people,” Philippine Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. said in a statement.

Together with Microsoft, the Philippine Department of Science and Technology’s Information and Communications Technology Office (DOST-ICTO), and the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), ECOFISH piloted a new technology that taps unused television broadcast frequencies (“TV White Space”) to extend wireless Internet access to remote parts of the country in order to enable a mobile, online system to register fisherfolk in the Danajon Reef in central Philippines. Registration is key towards sustainable fisheries management, and allows fisherfolk to access vital government services.

TV White Space was recognized as a model public-private partnership and won the second P3 Impact Award during the 2015 Concordia Summit in New York. Concordia, the University of Virginia Darden Institute for Business in Society, and the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Global Partnerships created the P3 Impact Award to recognize P3s (public-private partnerships) that are changing our world in innovative and impactful ways.

“It is encouraging to see how national programs like BFAR’s Municipal Fisherfolk Registration or Fish-R can be complemented and enhanced through partnerships with local government units and international development partners like USAID. Innovative projects like ECOFISH has facilitated the delivery of services to intended beneficiaries and has helped develop appropriate governance mechanisms that can achieve the desired impact,” noted Dr Josyline Javelosa, Agriculture Attaché at the Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C.

Dr. Javelosa and the Embassy’s Minister for Economic Affairs, Atty. Jose Victor Chan-Gonzaga, were present in the forum. ###